Friday, December 31, 2010

A Warning From Rome

Benedict XVI is not all seashells and balloons here.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Repeatedly during the season of Advent the Church’s liturgy prays in these or similar words. They are invocations that were probably formulated as the Roman Empire was in decline. The disintegration of the key principles of law and of the fundamental moral attitudes underpinning them burst open the dams which until that time had protected peaceful coexistence among peoples. The sun was setting over an entire world....

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Today too, we have many reasons to associate ourselves with this Advent prayer of the Church. For all its new hopes and possibilities, our world is at the same time troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function. Consequently the forces mobilized for the defence of such structures seem doomed to failure.

...The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times. From Bishops of developing countries I hear again and again how sexual tourism threatens an entire generation and damages its freedom and its human dignity. The Book of Revelation includes among the great sins of Babylon – the symbol of the world’s great irreligious cities – the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13)...

...In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a “better than” and a “worse than”. Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today. Against them, Pope John Paul II, in his 1993 Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, indicated with prophetic force in the great rational tradition of Christian ethos the essential and permanent foundations of moral action. Today, attention must be focussed anew on this text as a path in the formation of conscience.

...Alexis de Tocqueville, in his day, observed that democracy in America had become possible and had worked because there existed a fundamental moral consensus which, transcending individual denominations, united everyone. Only if there is such a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk wherever its place, the place of moral reasoning, is taken by the purely instrumental rationality of which I spoke earlier. In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake.

Benedict does not like being a Cassandra, but clearly, he understands Augustine's work and philosophy.

HT: Pertinacious

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dirtball Wackos of the "Rightist" Variety

One expects a bit of jousting in a race for a national position. HRC v. Obama provided more than a little; so did the Humphrey v. Johnson campaign.

But for what's essentially a backroom/low profile/slot? I mean, what would you give for Wales?

You'd be amazed what the Missouri people are doing to Priebus.

If you thought the fact that RNC Chair candidate, Maria Cino, was an Obamacare lobbyist was outrageous wait until you hear the latest…
The leading candidate in the race – Reince Priebus‘s law firm supports Obamacare and says its constitutional!


Well, you can read the rest. Unless Hoft (a St Louis resident) pulls this post, as he did with the last moronic smear-job he ran on Priebus.

Some woman named Wagner is also running for the seat and she's from Missouri.

Co-incidence, I suppose.

I don't have a dog in this fight; I met Priebus once; we spoke for 30 seconds. He moved on when I showed him my prized 5,000-round ammo belt.

Maybe he's the best guy, maybe not. But this stuff is insane.

Klein's Essay on the Constitution

Bet you didn't know that Klein actually wrote an essay on the Constitution.

Iowahawk found it.

Because the Constitution is so old, it is written in the "old-timey" language of people of more than one century ago, which leads many modern people to get confused and frustrated by it. "What is this stupid boring thing?" they will ask, then go back to playing Super Mario Cart. These modern people could not be any more wrong, because hidden underneath all the "so-called" confusing words is an exciting story with twists and turns everywhere. Fortunately, and most importantly, the Founding Fathers also invented the Supreme Court which does a good job of translating the Constitution into modern words and juxtaposing them for all of us, the American people of the United States.

Ace is skeptical. He thinks that Klein co-wrote it with Megan McCain. Not a bad theory, but Klein prolly wrote all the big words.

On Chant, Music, and Conversion

Jeffrey Tucker is a Von Mises Institute guy, a musician, and a convert to Catholicism. In an interview, he has some very interesting remarks and insights.

...Conversions are too big for full cognition. Too many influences hit us from too many directions to make sense of it all, and there is the element of the divine that surpasses consciousness. So I’m at the point of realizing that I do not and cannot know how or why it occurred. However, I do know this: Music played a role. I had been a lifetime musician, playing in symphonies and jazz combos and everything in between. But there was something about hearing the Mass chanted with just a few small notes — by an older priest with a tired voice — that transformed me completely. I was about 22 years old and I had never heard anything so beautiful. The total absence of ego and the total absorption in a purpose beyond time enthralled me.

...That chant in Mass that I heard from the late Father Urban Schnaus at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception exposed me to something completely new, something words and argument alone could not express. The context mattered too: This wasn’t a music history class. It changed everything. My whole aesthetic outlook changed. Instead of looking for truth and beauty in the avant-garde, I found it in music that was unbound from the temporal world.

From the chant, I moved on to listen to Renaissance polyphony, in which I heard a level of sophistication that I did not hear in much modern music, which seemed strangely superficial and simple by comparison. It’s like comparing a medieval cathedral to a trailer home. Gradually, chant and polyphony took over my brain and hardly any other music mattered anymore.

Perhaps that's a bit unfair to Mozart, or JSBach, Bruckner, or Peeters, but you get the idea.

...I realized that it is all a form of prayer, and the musical structure amounts to an attempt by mortals to touch a realm of immortality. It was all an attempt to somehow capture and characterize what the ancients called the “music of the spheres,” which is something like a heavenly sound that might be worthy to be presented by angels at the throne of God.

So the clatterwack of 'yout' Masses' is NOT the music of the spheres? Ohhhhh, nooooooo!

And here, a significant revelation:

It goes without saying that secular music doesn’t attempt this at all. It is designed to flatter the performers, indulge the composers, entertain the audience, or whatever. There is a place for this approach in the culture at large, but sacred music has a different purpose. To me, to begin to understand liturgical music is to realize this central point that appears in Christian writings from the earliest age: There is a difference between sacred and profane. Many people deny this today, which just amazes me. I consider it so axiomatic that it is not worth debating

St. Augie would agree. He did describe TWO cities, after all.

...given what Vatican II called the “treasury of sacred music,” it is shocking how absent it is from our parishes. But that’s only the beginning of the problem. The real core is the loss of the ideal, the near absence of an understanding that musicians have any serious responsibilities to the ritual.

That's a generalization which is not entirely accurate, of course; even in "progressive" parishes--or semi-progressive parishes--a good musician does take his responsibilities seriously. But in many cases, they simply don't know what that actually implies--a point which Tucker makes here:

I find it striking that most non-Catholics imagine that our services are dominated by the kind of chant heard in movies and television. But the truth is that we do not hear it in our parishes. Why not? The musicians have not had their responsibilities explained to them. They do not know that the Church has assigned a specific and brilliant piece of music for every part of the Mass throughout the liturgical year. Not one in one hundred Catholic musicians know this. They’ve never heard of the Graduale Romanum, which is the music book of the Roman Rite. They’ve never been told that there are ideals that extend beyond a weekly game of English-hymn roulette.

I demur from this, but not entirely.

During the early days of the Revolution (~1965-1975), church musicians were told, with authority, that 'all that Chant stuff' was out. Done. Finis. In great part that was due to the abolition of Latin (licit abolition or not, it was the fact.) And of course, musicians trained during that period are now "the trainers." There were exceptions, of course--Mgr. Schuler in the Twin Cities, Paul Salamunovich in LA., and a few here in Milwaukee. But most of those--who actually read the pertinent document, SC, were marginalized and then fired.

The Bishops and priests did it, folks.

Why Chant?

...There is also the need for music at Mass to unify the purposes of the gathered community. That cannot happen if the music is all about individual preferences. Notice how even four people in a moving car cannot agree on which radio station should be played. If we leave the choice solely to individual preferences, the result will be chaos. We need to use music that draws us out of ourselves and into a higher realm that unifies us. The chant tradition provides this. It is a third way, beyond liberal and conservative hymn choices.

Chilluns' Mass, teeny-bopper Mass, old-farts' Mass.....does Babel resonate here?

...the only people who really argue this way [for demographic-specific music] are old people. It’s true that plenty of young people are not interested in true liturgical music, but those same people are not interested in Catholicism either. How do we draw people to the faith? By lying about it and substituting false teaching? I don’t think so. The faith draws people when it is not ashamed of itself and when it has the ring of truth.

It is the same with liturgical music. Church music uses free rhythm that always points upwards in the same way that incense is always rising. This assists our prayer. Secular styles of music, in contrast, use rhythms that elicit temporal thoughts and emotions. Rock music points to nothing outside of itself, so it does not belong anywhere near the liturgy.

Nicely said.


One more regulation--or, as Rick demonstrates, one more good "hate."

HT: Trog

Parties, With Their Party Themes

P-Mac names the names.

He forgot the Latte party: the Madisonians who are certain that you're declasse--and stupid.

One-A-Day Multiple Advisers

If nothing else, it's a list.

30 days, 32 advisers. Evidently a couple of them are part-timers.

The Cost of Legislative Egos

Story here about the musical-offices game being played out in the State capitol.

Nevermind all that jazz about 'who gets what office.' Here are the parts you should think about.

When Risser first took office more than 50 years ago, the Legislature only met six months out of the year. Lawmakers had only a desk on the chamber floor, no office. Mail was delivered to them through a locked slot in their desks. If someone needed to reach them by phone, a message was left with the Senate clerk.

There was no legislative staff, only a pool of secretaries with requests completed on the basis of seniority.

Those WERE, actually, the good old days.

Risser was elected co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee at the start of his second two-year term in office. These days, the position comes with a third-floor office and two additional staffers. In 1959, it came with a part-time secretary, “which still was very nice,” Risser says.

Still, he and other lawmakers wanted their own offices.

We decided — those of us in power — that by running out the agencies we could all have offices,” Risser says. “The Republicans wanted offices, too, so we began working together.”

Maybe 'conspiring' is a better term than 'working,' Freddie.

Risser soon ran into the same problem that had been plaguing the Capitol since the 1920s. There simply wasn’t enough space at the Capitol to fit all the state agencies and constitutional officers that wanted to be there, let alone make room for lawmakers. One early solution was the construction of the state office building at 1 W. Wilson St. in 1931.

Over the next 30 years, the Wilson Street building was expanded twice, as the Banking Department, Conservation Commission, Board of Health, Department of Motor Vehicles, Public Service Commission and other agencies were pushed out of the Capitol.

When the third and final wing of the Wilson Street building was completed in 1959, the Department of Public Welfare left the Capitol for good. The Department of Agriculture and the Insurance Department soon got the boot, too, following the purchase of land on Sheboygan Avenue just off University Avenue. The site is now home to the Division of Motor Vehicles

You get the picture. Senate and Assembly types just kept taking more and more space in the Capitol, and taxpayers paid for more and more buildings for more and more State agencies...

Oh, yes--you paid. Over and over and over and over....

The most recent exodus occurred in 2001 with the completion of the Risser Justice Center and Law Library. Located a block from the Capitol, it is named for the four generations of Risser family lawmakers, and is home to the Department of Justice and the offices of the Supreme Court justices.

“Had some of us left office, there would have been no continuity with the plan,” Risser says. “I don’t want to use the word bribe, but we had to fight with some of these agencies and offices to get them out. It was tough.”

We'll use the word "bribery", Freddie. You took taxpayer money and waved it around to satisfy your ego (gee, a whole office building named for your family!!) and that of the other Leggies.

Somehow, Freddie, I don't think that should be viewed as 'an accomplishment.'

That "Chromium-6 In Your Water" Thing? Maybe Not

Although it takes a while to get there, Marie Rohde's report on the Brokovich Problem is fair.

I'll just go directly to the part you don't see too often:

While the methodology used by the environmentalists was questionable — in each of 35 cities, one member of the group turned on the kitchen tap to collect a single sample of water — it got the attention of the national media, a number of Congressmen and the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Questionable" is a very kind word for that method. "Laughable", or "Poppycock" would be more accurate. Let's put it this way: it's less reliable than a Jim Doyle promise.

And it is no surprise that EPA is interested. They're always interested in retaining their jobs.

The good news is it’s relatively easy and cheap to remove the chemical from water, said Biedrzycki. The bad news is that no one knows how much chromium-6 is dangerous.

Cantor said much more rigorous testing needs to be done before conclusions can be drawn.

“Obviously one sample in one city is not enough to base conclusions on,” Cantor said. “Also, does the chromium-6 come from the source water, interactions with the piping or the type of faucet the sampler happened to use?

Or from a handy pack of chrome-dust that the sampler poured into the water?

There's more:

Grande [Madison's water guy] said he does not believe that chromium-6 detected in Madison is the result of environmental contamination. He said he is also concerned that the unstable nature of chromium could nullify test results.

It’s unstable,” Grande said of chromium. “It can be changed by air, chlorine and other factors that may influence the results.

Chlorine, eh? Gee. Would Madison (and Milwaukee) use chlorine in their water systems? (Just asking...)

To top it off, there's this:

From 1996 to 2008, 196 cancers were identified among residents of the census tract that includes Hinkley — a slightly lower number than the 224 cancers that would have been expected given its demographic characteristics, said epidemiologist John Morgan, who conducted the California Cancer Registry survey

So maybe Chromium-6 is actually GOOD for you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Windmills of Doyle's Mind That You'll Pay For...

The experience of Great Britain is not exactly encouraging.

This is the season for quizzes. So ­fingers on buzzers, here’s your starter for ten. In percentage terms, how much electricity do Britain’s 3,150 wind ­turbines supply to the ­National Grid?

Is it: a) five per cent; b) ten per cent; or c) 20 per cent? Come on, I’m going to have to hurry you. No conferring.

Time’s up. The correct answer is: none of the above. Yesterday afternoon, the figure was just 1.6 per cent, according to the official website of the wholesale electricity market.

Over the past three weeks, with demand for power at record levels because of the freezing weather, there have been days when the contribution of our forests of wind turbines has been precisely nothing.

It gets better. As the temperature has plummeted, the turbines have had to be heated to prevent them seizing up. Consequently, they have been consuming more electricity than they generate.

Even on a good day they rarely work above a quarter of their theoretical capacity. And in high winds they have to be switched off altogether to prevent damage.

At best, the combined output of these monstrosities is equal only to that of a single, medium-sized, gas-fired power station.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has granted a rate-increase to WE Energies to allow construction of more windmill farms.

Before your grandchildren assassinate you for passing this crap on to them, be sure to mention that you knew better, but didn't resist. I'm sure it will help.

HT: BayouRenMan

You Think You Know About Gen. Patton?

Yah, hey, we've all seen the movie, so we must all know about Patton the man, no? A pistoleer, 'hot rod' General who drove his men very hard, and of course, there's 'the Slap.'

Maybe you don't know enough.

...On December 8, 1944, General Patton called Msgr. James H. O'Neill, Chief Chaplain of the Third Army, and asked, "Do you have a good prayer for weather? We must do something about those rains if we are to win the war." It had rained since September. Monsignor O'Neill could not find a prayer for weather in his books, so he composed one...Patton liked the prayer and the cards. He ordered 250,000 copies printed up and distributed to every man in the Third Army.

The cards went to the troops on December 12th.

On December 20, to the consternation of the Germans, the delight of the Americans, and the surprise of the weather forecasters, the rains stopped. Patton's Christmas prayer was answered. For the better part of a week came bright, clear skies and perfect weather.

American pilots could now see, and their planes knocked out hundreds of tanks, killed thousands of enemy troops, and cut off enemy supply lines. With that support, American troops who could see the Germans could now win the fight. The Allies were victorious in the Battle of the Bulge, and the war was soon over.


Heads Exploding

The racists and feminazis go critical: Walker appoints 6 white males.

"Heavyweight" Christofferson jumps right in. Must be pretty bored.

Christie's Commutation Yes--But....

A bunch of useful information here.

...Both the anti-gun left and the pro-gun right seem to believe that Aitken’s commutation was a shrewdly calculated move to win favor for the governor in Southern and Western states in the event that he jumps into the 2012 Republican presidential primaries.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Governor Christie commuted Aitken’s sentence because of procedural errors on the part of the trial judge, James Morley. (Some would argue incompetence, or even malice.)

Reports on the trial substantiate this contention; it was a Court of Star Chamber redux.

Now for the meat of the Christie matter:

...Christie’s stance on firearms is as draconian as that of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The simple fact of the matter is that if Christie’s views on firearms were widely known, his chances of capturing the 2012 Republican primaries would go up in smoke.

[In his 1995 Assembly campaign], Christie’s campaign dishonestly referred to the semiautomatic firearms barred under the Clinton administration’s “crime bill” as “automatic assault weapons,” intentionally misrepresenting hunting, plinking, defense, and target rifles as military machine guns.

...As of 2009, Christie still supports the ban on semi-automatic rifles in New Jersey, and when he decided to run for governor, he chose to campaign to the left of Democrat John Corzine on gun-related issues.

"Left of Carzine" means at the edge of sanity.

...As his campaign plainly stated, “Chris Christie supports the assault weapons ban and all current gun laws. He opposes attempts to permit conceal and carry laws in New Jersey...

But he's still a lot of fun to watch when he takes on the teachers. Fortunately for him, few of them are armed.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shocker! Fed Gummint "In-Auditable"

Yah, well, at $13Zillion+++ in debt, 'who cares?' might be a valid response.

But here's an interesting graf:

In addition, the GAO said last week it was unable to render an opinion on the 2010 Statement of Social Insurance because of significant uncertainties, primarily related to the achievement of projected reductions in Medicare cost growth.

Let's put that into regular-American-speak: "projected reductions in Medicare growth" translates to "Presidential B.S." (Or, if you have chilluns, that be "Obozo foofoodust.")

HT: Zippers

About That Property in Florida...

Perhaps the M&I boyzzzzz should keep some of those foreclosures as an investment.

...But when so many of his forecasts seem to come true, and when he seems to be so consistently ahead of the Met Office, I feel I want to know more. Piers Corbyn believes that the last three winters could be the harbinger of a mini ice age that could be upon us by 2035, and that it could start to be colder than at any time in the last 200 years. He goes on to speculate that a genuine ice age might then settle in, since an ice age is now cyclically overdue.

That's the excerpt of particular interest, especially here in glacier-formed-land.

The rest of the story is at the link.

HT: BayRenMan

Bring On Your Steeenkin' Army!

Noted by a Twin Cities priest and re-posted by Badger:

[During the 2010 WI deer-hunting season, t]here were over 600,000 hunters. Allow me to restate that number. Over the last two months, the eighth largest army in the world -– more men under arms than Iran; more than France and Germany combined -– deployed to the woods of a single American state to help keep the deer menace at bay. But that pales in comparison to the 750,000 who are in the woods of Pennsylvania this week. Michigan ‘s 700,000 hunters have now returned home. Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia , and it is literally the case that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.


Monday, December 27, 2010

THIS Is "High-Achieving" Congress?

Well, it's a high-achieving Congress if you're a bond dealer. (Like, for example, Goldman Sachs.)

The federal government has accumulated more new debt–$3.22 trillion ($3,220,103,625,307.29)—during the tenure of the 111th Congress than it did during the first 100 Congresses combined, according to official debt figures published by the U.S. Treasury.

That equals $10,429.64 in new debt for each and every one of the 308,745,538 people counted in the United States by the 2010 Census.

How very special!

HT: Zippers

Wisconsin and Herman Cain

Interesting factoid:

Getting from “dark horse” to serious contender is a task Cain has assigned to a campaign team headed by two Republican operatives from Wisconsin, Mark Block and Scott Toomey

--Winning McCain in the AmSpec

SCOWI Goes All Silly: Non-Sexual "Sex Offender"

Agitator doesn't like this, and I don't either.

...requiring Smith to register as a sex offender is rationally related to the state's legitimate interest in protecting the public, including children, and assisting law enforcement. Requiring Smith to register, even though his conviction for false imprisonment was not of a sexual nature, is rationally related to the government interest in protecting the public and assisting law enforcement because: (1) false imprisonment has been linked to the commission of sexual assault and violent crimes against children; (2) an offender's sexual motive or intent may be difficult to prove or determine within the context of false imprisonment; and (3) false imprisonment places the minor in a vulnerable position because the offender, rather than the minor, has control over the minor's body and freedom of movement. The legislature chose to require registration by those, like Smith, who commit the crime of falsely imprisoning a minor, regardless of whether that crime is of a sexual nature.

SCOWI may well be bound by the language of the law. In that case the language of the law should be changed. This is idiotic.

Another Constitutional Defect in ObozoCare

Interesting. Twenty States have argued another line.

This defect is true of the new health law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Although the constitutional objections to its individual insurance mandate—the requirement that any person who isn't provided insurance by his employer buy it on his own—have gotten all the public attention, the law also has a "general welfare" problem. It will pile unspecified new costs on states by requiring them to extend their Medicaid coverage to more people. In Florida, 20 states have challenged these state mandates as exceeding Congress's spending power. Their challenge is based on South Dakota v. Dole (1987). --AOSHQ quoting the WSJ

In brief, the Feds are not allowed to "coerce" the States to spend money; thus the 'zero-out-your-Medicaid' threat of Obozocare is likely un-Constitutional.

A Little Liturgical Silence Now and Then....

Over the years, I've come to the realization that occasionally, silence can be a good thing during Mass.

That happens to be counter-instinctual for church musicians (after all, they're paid to 'do' music), and for many priests and 'liturgy directors' who seem to confuse 'making noise' with 'active participation.'

(Some of those priests are from foreign countries and are members of "liturgically conservative" Orders. Yah, well, mal-formation is universal.)

But not for Benedict XVI:

The Catholic liturgy lives "a certain crisis," and Benedict XVI wants to form a new liturgical movement that brings back more sacrality and silence in the Mass, and more attention to beauty in chant, sacred music and art.


In Memoriam Kodachrome

Denninger marks the passing.

On December 30, the last place where you can get Kodachrome color slide film developed will run out of processing chemicals and cease operations.

Yah, well. Can I still get parts for my rotary-dial (black-body/white-numeral-face) phone?

Obama v. The Law

Nicely-packaged list of issues on which Obozo's Regime ignores laws and court rulings.

While they do whatever-in-Hell they want to do, YOU will sit down, shut up, and be sexually assaulted by TSA.

See, there's a difference between you and them. More equal, and all that.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Napolitano: A Laugh a Minute

Big Sis Incompetanto, having conquered nuns, grannies, nursing mothers, and a pilot who made a fool of her, announces that she's going to secure shopping malls and hotels.


But the 'obiter dicta' is funny, hey!!

"It means, as we make the land borders harder to cross from a land border crossing standpoint, that we need to be looking out into our coasts and to the waters," said Napolitano.

"As we make the land borders harder to cross"?????

Who the hell are you trying to kid, Janet? Arizona? Texas? California?

Christmas Gift Fun


One item given to me was a fine USMC Ka-Bar, complete with all-leather sheath, suitable for belt-hanging.

The Longsuffering One was taken aback.

"I do NOT know what you need that for!" she muttered.

Of course, that's precisely the point.

DADT Repeal: Lessons Not Learned

Interesting, but not surprising, that even recent horrifying history had no effect on the DADT-repeal discussion.

Homosexual relationships caused a deep fracture in the priestly male fraternity. Pseudo-intimacy and intrigue replaced the outward looking evangelization of apostolic brotherhood. Bishops were unwilling to discipline the abusive priests under their charge. The Communio became divided. Religious leaders hid their own homosexual proclivities. The worst priests desacralized the liturgy and their vows and their priestly identity, while good priests often became isolated, fearful, and rigid. All priests were maimed.

All that is true, of course, and all that was revealed in the last years of the 20th Century. The implications for 'unit cohesion' are more than a little obvious--except to those who will not see.

More at the link.

HT: Fr. Z

It Begins: ACLU v. Catholic Hospitals, Doctors, and RNs

Jester picks up on a Malkin item:

On Wednesday, the ACLU sent a letter to federal health officials urging the government to force Catholic hospitals in the U.S. to perform abortions in violation of their core moral commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn. They’re counting on sympathetic Obama rationing czar Donald Berwick — a recess appointee whose radical views on wealth and health redistribution were never vetted by Congress — to dictate which religious principles hospital operators can and cannot follow.

The ACLU reiterated its call for a federal probe — read: fishing expedition — of Catholic hospitals nationwide that refuse to provide “emergency” contraception and abortions to women. In practice, of course, every request for abortion is an “emergency” to the left.

The Catholic Church makes clear that it is morally permissible under certain circumstances to treat directly the cause of the mother’s medical condition, even if those efforts unintentionally and indirectly cost the baby’s life. But Catholic health providers must never directly trade one life for another.

There is more at the link.

It might also provide another interesting test of ObamaCare.

C S Lewis on "Mythology Gospels"

One may argue over whether C S Lewis or J R R Tolkien was the greatest modern English scholar.

But one cannot argue that Lewis (or Tolkien) was a rube, a hick, or a bitter clinger.

So when Lewis eviscerates the "myth/Gospel" promulgators, one should pay attention.

1. [If a scholar] tells me that something in a Gospel is legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he has read, how well his palate is trained in detecting them by the flavour...

I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one [of the stories in the Gospel of John, for example] is like this... Either this is reportage - though it may no doubt contain errors - pretty close up to the facts; nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative...

2. All theology of the liberal type involves at some point - and often involves throughout - the claim that the real behaviour and purpose and teaching of Christ came very rapidly to be misunderstood and misrepresented by his followers, and has been recovered or exhumed only by modern scholars... The idea that any... writer should be opaque to those who lived in the same culture, spoke the same language, shared the same habitual imagery and unconscious assumptions, and yet be transparent to those who have none of these advantages, is in my opinion preposterous. There is an a priori improbability in it which almost no argument and no evidence could counterbalance.

3. Thirdly, I find in these theologians a constant use of the principle that the miraculous does not occur... This is a purely philosophical question. Scholars, as scholars, speak on it with no more authority than anyone else. The canon 'if miraculous, unhistorical' is one they bring to their study of the texts, not one they have learned from it. If one is speaking of authority, the united authority of all the Biblical critics in the world counts here for nothing.

4. My fourth bleat is my loudest and longest. Reviewers [of my own books, and of books by friends whose real history I knew] both friendly and hostile... will tell you what public events had directed the author's mind to this or that, what other authors influenced him, what his over-all intention was, what sort of audience he principally addressed, why - and when - he did everything... My impression is that in the whole of my experience not one of these guesses has on any one point been right; the method shows a record of 100 per cent failure.

The 'assured results of modern scholarship', as to the way in which an old book was written, are 'assured', we may conclude, only because those who knew the facts are dead and can't blow the gaff... The Biblical critics, whatever reconstructions they devise, can never be crudely proved wrong. St. Mark is dead. When they meet St. Peter there will be more pressing matters to discuss.

However... we are not fundamentalists... Of course we agree that passages almost verbally identical cannot be independent. It is as we glide away from this into reconstructions of a subtler and more ambitious kind that our faith in the method wavers... The sort of statement that arouses our deepest scepticism is the statement that something in a Gospel cannot be historical because it shows a theology or an ecclesiology too developed for so early a date...

Such are the reactions of one bleating layman... Once the layman was anxious to hide the fact that he believed so much less than the Vicar; he now tends to hide the fact that he believes so much more...

HT: Pertinacious Papist

Job-Seeker Advice

From Iowahawk, of course, counseling Congresscritters on how to get a job in private industry.

In order to land that good job back in your home district, you first need to understand the ins and outs of the non-Washington economic system. Unlike Washington's easy-to-understand system of leveraging raw unbridled rulemaking and police power to extract tribute from fearful and/or favor-seeking constituents, non-Washington industries are largely based on the production of "goods" or "services." It sounds complicated, but the basic idea boils down to making things or doing things that other people will pay for. The complicated part is to remember that they must pay for them voluntarily.

Oh, yes, there's a lot more...

And, yes, this DOES tie in with the previous post and Governor Walker's reg-initiative. You think that's coincidence? Think again.

The Revolt Against the Administrative State

P-Mac reflects as Walker swings for the fences with the "no mas" rules rule.

What we've got is the administrative state. It is, literally, bureaucracy out of control, the progressive-era dream of rule-making administrators insulated from control by politicians. That means insulated from voters, too. The idea was that if administrators were wise, disinterested and scientific enough, they'd need neither checks nor balances. Those would only get in the way of the constant adjusting, via new regulations, that the state would use to perfect us.

Walker may be looking to an older model: the constitutional state. The presumption there is that rules are stable and fewer, giving form to comprehensible principles rather than governing us in minute detail.

That's the nut of it. The involvement of the (generic) State has grown so much that it is possible for the State to grind down or simply halt almost anything. Don't believe it? Think for a moment of how many ways you can be stopped on the road for an offense--right down to 'failure to use headlights in a rainstorm.'

And P-Mac also understands that the administrative-rules game is played, very well indeed, by the "special interests." Makes no difference if they are 'union' or 'management' special interests--ask any honest MPS teacher about how many rules and regs they have to comport with, and how they change from year to year.

Indeed, the Revolution is at hand. Long live the Governor!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Updated 'Christmas Story'

Much more satisfying 'pop' when the trigger is pulled.

HT: No Lawyers

Another Look at Sacred Music

This from Fr. Gunter. The approach here is a little different, and worth reflection.

At the time that St. Augustine wrote "Qui cantat, bis orat" -- he who sings prays twice, one could easily recognize how much the character itself of sacred music made it essentially different from a simple group singing or an elegant performance by an expert musician of the secular realm.

The conviction of the fact that prayer is doubled if sung instead of being recited was not based so much on the merits of human effort, but rather on the need to describe the numinous dimension within sacred music, its emotive and artistic aspects, inasmuch as it is an exchange between God, the Giver of every gift, and the response of love of the human being to the Lord's omnipotent love.

A greater love will seek a higher quality and not just more abundant quantity, and this happens when the perseverance of an individual or a group has made progress in the musical realm and has experienced the beauty of its spiritual consolations.

...[SC] No. 10 clarifies that "the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed." Hence the liturgy is precisely the source of the necessary strength for every apostolic work. Wherever the liturgy of the Church is left to chance, the lack of coherence in its fruits becomes evident.

...Beyond the challenges represented by personal or cultural preferences, the purpose of sacred music is always praise of God. The active participation of the assembly must be ordered to this end, so that the dignity of the liturgy is not compromised and the possibilities for an effective participation in divine worship are not darkened. Active participation does not exclude different levels of participation that, of themselves, indicate that "participation in the act" is not diminished by the fact that one might not be singing everything at every moment. Sacred music must be conformed to the liturgical texts and devotional music must be inspired in biblical or liturgical texts, taking care in every case not to hide the ecclesiological reality of the Church.

[JPII said] "The liturgy, like the Church, is intended to be hierarchical and polyphonic, respecting the different roles assigned by Christ and allowing all the different voices to blend in one great hymn of praise." Hence, in its expressions of religious faith, textual fidelity and measured dignity, sacred music must become a symbol of ecclesial communion.

...The character of sacred music is not diminished when it is simple, to the degree that its simplicity is noble rather than banal. The widespread use, though prohibited, of secular recorded music and "pop" songs in funerals justifies the distancing of many faithful, who feel themselves foreign to the musical life of the Church. "Cult" songs, doctrinally insipid, often take the place of liturgical treasures with catechetical value, with the effect that the culture of ecclesial music in many parishes has been "led down a blind alley in which one can say always less about its quo vadis" -- this is the way in which J. Ratzinger describes the separation of modern culture from its religious matrix

...It would be sad, however, if, because of the desire to understand everything, the use of Gregorian chant in the parishes were to be limited to the celebration in the "extraordinary form," thus relegating the ancient language of this chant to the history of the Church and to a symbol of polarization. Among the pastoral opportunities, it's not too much to ask that persons might have the experience of the universality of the Church at the local level, being able to sing the parts that correspond to them in Latin (cf. SC 54). This was the intention of the Fathers of the Council. With due moderation and pastoral sensitivity, this practice would be united harmonically to the rich expressions of the Catholic faith in the vernacular.

There's a lot there for church musicians and their pastors to think about.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Mark Belling Tax Act

Bet you didn't know that Belling has his own lobbyist.

There is even a tax break for people who buy race horses.

Yup. Right in there with the 2% SocSec tax cut.

Merry Christmas!

May the peace of Christ and His blessings remain with you through the New Year.

And for those of you who like the pure joy of the day in music, go here for the first movement of the JSBach "Jauchzet!!" Christmas Oratorio.

Note 2 things: 1) it's in D major, the key of joy. 2) It is a dance!

Escalation at the Border


Sheriff Paul Babeu has announced he plans to use deadly force, if necessary, to drive smugglers and border bandits out of his part of the desert.

...In the week following the shooting death of a Border Patrol agent, the Sheriff admits the chances of having a gun fight in the desert are extremely high. After all, it’s the same desert where one of his deputies was shot and where they’ve seized thousands of pounds of drugs. Babeu says deadly force will be used if his deputies confront dangerous cartels.

“I’ve given specific instruction, no less than lethal force is going to be used. It’s all lethal force only and we go into that environment knowing that we’re likely expecting an armed threat from these people,” Babeu said.

The Sheriff will be deploying 8- to 15- man teams which will include snipers.

HT: Zippers

Is It or Is It Ain't Inflation?

Just because commenter Struppster dared me to, I link to this Ritholtz-posted analysis by a Fed/Atlanta guy who says that "inflation ain't."

Personally, I think he ought to get out and shop more in a grocery store, but hey! he has better charts than I do.

Why "The Dow Is Up" Might Not Be Good News

Gotta love Ritholtz. He posts good contrarian stuff.

The MSM has embarked upon an "it's getting better" meme about the economy. One of the frequently-mentioned 'positives' is the DJIA's recent runup. While a number of economic indicators are positive, using the Dow as support for 'revival' has its flaws.

So Ritholtz quotes David Rosenberg:

In Barron’s look-ahead piece, not one strategist sees the prospect for a market decline. This is called group-think.

...Investors Intelligence now shows the bull share heading up to 58.8% from 55.8% a week ago [...] a new high for the year and is now the highest since 2007 ― just ahead of the market slide

...It may pay to have a look at Dow 1929-1949 analog lined up with January 2000. We are getting very close to the May 1940 sell-off when Germany invaded France

...From a historical standpoint, the yield on the S&P 500 is very low ― too low, in fact

Be careful out there!

"Kill the Filibuster" Rolling in (D) Controlled Senate

RedState explains the machinations--which, for such slime as Durbin is a 180-degree reverse of his pre-2004 position (but nevermind the 'for it before I was against it' Kerryism.)

The proposal to kill the filibuster may well take effect in January, which raises a question: What's the Hurry?

Liberals are going to destroy the tradition of extended debate and a free amendment process in the Senate if they can pull off this procedural coup. They want to set a precedent that the Senate can toss aside the rules with a simple majority vote. Liberals will regret this power grab if Republicans take over the Senate and Presidency in 2013, yet they seem so intent on short term gain that they don’t care about the long term consequences for members of the minority party.

So what makes this a 'do-it-NOW' issue?

One reason is obvious:

They are ... setting the table to make it easier to sieze control of the Supreme Court if any of the conservative leaning members decide to retire.

Beyond that, of course, is the fact that the filibuster can prevent The Agenda--Totalitarianism, (or Statism)--from being enacted. Control of SCOTUS is important, as FDR knew. But so is control of House initiatives, especially those which will rein in such as Sibelius' ObamaCare regs, or Browner's EPA regs, or Incompetanto's TSA thuggery.

This is not a matter of 'efficiency.'

It is a rear-guard, but critical, means of taking or retaining control.

So, as we've counseled before:


"Oh, Yes. You Have to Pay Dues. Surprise!!"

Another gift from the Doylet. Jo Egelhoff lays it all out for you.

Members of the state’s newest public employee union are not really public employees at all – quite the trick.

In brief: Doylet and his thugs in the Legislature created an entity which would serve as 'the employer' for Wisconsin home-care workers (also called 'personal care assistants'). Never mind that those workers actually work for the people that they care for. But this has nothing to do with reality; this is Doylet & Co. at work.

Since these workers are deemed 'employed' by the State, they can be unionized.

THAT was the point of creating the entity.

(What? You didn't know about this? Well, silly, it was in the State Budget bill. You shoulda known that this is a budget item, stupid.)

Oh, there's more.

The State 'encouraged' the providers to sign up with the new entity and gave the SEIU all the personal data submitted by those providers. Then SEIU contacted those people for the purpose of 'determining interest' in joining the SEIU. Then there would be an election.

That 'election' was, ahhhh..........a foregone conclusion.

The stealth organizing via Wisconsin’s state budget led to a campaign and election; the union won that election May 6 of this year. 1,999 of 5,500 providers voted, with 23% of them, or 1,249 voting yes, 750 voting no and 3,500 not voting.

...Effective July 1, 2011, QHCA providers must charge, at minimum, collectively bargained wages

....and if history is a prologue, those wages will be reduced by (you guessed it) UNION DUES, as is the case in 14 of the 17 States which pulled this scam.

See, in Wisconsin, we had a Doylet, which operated in reverse. It spewed the sewage in the wrong direction: right at the citizens and taxpayers.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Not a "Government Takeover" or Anything...

Mentioned at Legal Insurrection:

Not satisfied with the colossal amounts of power that she would acquire under Obamacare if it isn't repealed, Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Kathleen Sebelius has issued a 136-page "rule" that will now give her (and her subordinates) largely unchecked power to pass judgment on the prices of health insurance throughout the United States. Notwithstanding the fact that 43 states already regulate and approve health insurance premiums, Sebelius claims that we need an additional, more centralized, protection against insurers' unseemly 'profit motive.' But a far greater threat to the future of American republicanism is posed by the impulse that animates Sebelius and the bulk of the Obama administration: the power motive.

Another reason to cut HHS' budget by.... say.... 20% or so, Congressman Ryan.

And yet another reason that PolitiFart seems more like "SibeliusSpinner".

Napolitano Gets Her Irish Up

Ms. Incompetanto of DHS is getting more and more testy every day.

As we mentioned, her goons confiscated the sidearm of a pilot who dared to record his observations of DHS security failures in airports.

Then, she displayed some aggravation over remarks made by the parents of a slain Border Patrolman.

And now we have this:

I was about to delete an offensive comment on this blog – one of the very few we get – and thought, hmm, I wonder where this guy is posting from? Because, really, it is quite unusual for us to get nasty comments. Lo and behold, the troll posted to our website from an IP address controlled by the federal government’s Department of Homeland Security! Here is the taxpayer-funded troll’s gem of a comment, for your entertainment:

F*** you, F*** all you c***suckers, you wont change anything. ride the bus, TSA is here to stay there doing a great job keeping americia safe.

(Is "americia" the 56th State? 57th? or only the 52nd?)

And she still has Christmas shopping to do....

The Hermeneutic of Suspicion: Deconstruction Gone Wild

An interesting article.

Progressives have been re-engineering children's stories for decades in order to tell their side of the big picture. They argue that Aesop and the Brothers Grimm got it all wrong. Progressives come at the retelling from two different angles: (1) they don't want to offend anyone, and (2) they deny natural law.

It's worth recalling that 'natural law' is based on "what IS." Thus, to some degree, that denial is a denial of reality, or truth.

For example, the London Daily Mail reported in 2007 that in a dramatic reproduction of the classic story the script was rewritten to omit references to pigs, so that people of Islamic faith would not be offended. The effort to please backfired, however, when actual people of Islamic faith regarded the effort as "misguided and said decisions like this were turning Muslims into 'misfits' in society.

Similar abortive re-engineering happens with Baa Baa Black Sheep, and threatens the 7 Dwarves.

What's going on here is the operation of what is called the "hermeneutic of suspicion."

...the phrase is technically redundant. What it captures, however, is the post-modern tendency to de-construct the fundamental understanding of reality itself, to, in effect, be suspicious of every perspective that is handed down from one generation to the next.

But to me, the most telling text is this:

The result is ultimate paralysis as the culture itself falls down and curls into a fetal position.

That is the fate of the Intellectualoid re-designer of nature: the eternal fetal position. Incapable of maturing (as are the teachers who famously battled Chris Christie with juvenile prattle and rhymes), they want a world devoid of humans, devoid of nature, humanity, and CERTAINLY devoid of testosterone. all of the retelling of the classic tale, the common thread, apart from not wanting to offend any powerful constituencies, seems to be the denial of natural law. The wolf, for example, isn't "bad," but merely misunderstood.

Reminding one of Obama's self-accusation that he 'didn't communicate clearly' about ObamaCare.

HT: Eyes of Faith

You Shall Not Mock TSA!

Bet you didn't know that was part of the Big Ten.

An airline pilot is being disciplined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for posting video on YouTube pointing out what he believes are serious flaws in airport security.

He had been licensed to carry onboard; TSA confiscated his handgun.

Incompetanto don't like mockery. Get used to it.

We begin anew the campaign: BUY MORE AMMO!

Chavez, Well-Armed

It's not just that Venezuela's Chavez is a Marxist with a very heavy narcissist/authoritarian trace-elements and a vicious dislike of Catholics...

It's that he's now extremely well-armed.

Among the two most alarming revelations is the already completed sale and delivery, to Venezuela by Russia, of nearly 2,000 advanced, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles capable of hitting aircraft as high as 19,000 feet. Equally and perhaps more alarming is an October agreement between Iran and Venezuela. The agreement establishes a joint ground-to-ground missile base on Venezuelan soil and calls for the sharing of missile technology and the training of technicians and officers. In addition, Venezuela may use the missiles as it chooses for “national needs” and in case of “emergency.” Several types of missiles will be deployed, giving Venezuela the ability to strike targets throughout South and Central America and throughout the U.S.

Those SAM's can easily be smuggled into the US, by the way.

The missiles don't have to be smuggled.

Given that Obama Administration officials are not necessarily aware of current events (like massive terrorist sweeps/arrests in Great Britain), one wonders if they are aware of this?

If so, where's the reaction?

The Feds' Poison Gift to Your Children

We've hammered on this, for good reason.

The Germans did a bit of work on Compact Flourescent bulbs.


Levels of toxic vapour around smashed eco-bulbs were up to 20 times higher than the safe guideline limit for an indoor area, the study said.

It added that broken bulbs posed a potential health risk to pregnant women, babies and small children

One might quibble over the definition of "safe guideline limit."

But Your Government has acted to FORCE you to purchase items which can poison your children.

Where are the "lead paint" litigators? Where is "PolitiFart"? Herbie the Sleeping Senator? (And yes, I KNOW that the feckless GWB signed the law.)

HT: VerumSerum

"PolitiFact"--Just Another MSM AgitProp House

Gee, what a shock. An MSM apparatchik (PolitiFact) makes truth-claims. Only problem: you have to accept the premise that only PolitiFact may define the terms.

That doesn't always hold water in areas where quality (not quantity) is the subject of dispute.

"We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover," the editors of PolitiFact announce portentously. "'Government takeover' conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees," whereas ObamaCare "is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market." PolitiFact makes it sound as if ObamaCare were drawn up by President Friedrich Hayek, with amendments from House Speaker Ayn Rand. --WSJ via Sykes

But as the WSJ and thousands of others know, ObamaCare dictates terms and conditions of health-care delivery to insurers, providers, hospitals, and patients.

Little is left to the imagination of any affected parties.

Given the way PolitiFact defines the argument (that a 'takeover' requires Gummint ownership and/or employment of all the parties), they make their truth-claim.

But 'ownership' and 'employment' are not relevant if all the other terms and conditions are imposed, by law, (at the point of a gun) by Gummint. It may be a rhetorical flourish to state that ObamaCare is "a Government takeover."

But it is grounded in reality.

Shocker: College Degrees Over-Rated

We've mentioned this a few times. Now someone went and proved it.

The data suggest a horrible decline in the productivity of American education in that the “inputs” used to achieve any given human capital (occupational) outcome have expanded enormously. More simply, it takes 18 years of schooling (including kindergarten and the typical fifth year of college to get a bachelor’s degree) for persons to get an education to do jobs that a generation or two ago people did with 12-13 years of education (graduating more often from college in four years and sometimes skipping kindergarten). . . . All of this supports the notion that credential inflation arises from a perceived need by individuals to demonstrate potential employment competence through a piece of paper, i.e. a college diploma. Employers are using education as a screening and signaling device, at a low cost directly to them (although not costless because of the taxes they pay to sustain much of this), but at a high cost to the perspective employees and to society as a whole.

Other effects include 'resume inflation,' wherein someone claims a degree which they did not obtain.

The Bell Curve hasn't changed. A bunch of people are perfectly capable of doing all sorts of jobs without a degree in History, English, Women's Studies, or Phy Ed.

But it will cost them a LOT more to get that job.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SCOTUS' Baird: The Results Are Not Pretty

Think that SCOTUS can't demolish the country?

Sexual taboos, those societal and cultural defense mechanisms – most easily seen in more “primitive” societies – serve crucial roles in social stability. Small tribes could not afford untrammeled sexuality by their youth, which sows chaos within; their enemies could then easily overcome them. Our “enlightenment elite” have spent two centuries tearing down our taboos. Now we pay the price in broken families, lower educational performance, more poverty, less revenue for government programs coupled with more demand for such programs from needy mothers and children. States and cities are on a collision course with fiscal realities: the fewer married people, the less revenue states will collect. The British are learning the same lesson and have put better cost numbers on this phenomenon than we have.

Ironically, in this case, women and minorities ARE hardest-hit.

HT: Catholic Thing

One More Time: It's the Cost of Compliance

Over the last several years, I've (fruitlessly) mentioned that jobs are going overseas for LOTS of reasons, only one of which is labor-cost. And in a lot of cases, that 'labor cost' is not wages and bennies--rather, it's regulatory burden which contributes to 'labor cost.'

Here's another look at the same discussion.

We can break manufacturing costs into two broad categories. The first covers those costs directly related to producing the product and operating the business. In the most comprehensive sense this would include not only the labor, materials, and facilities needed to make the physical product, but also the managerial, sales, administrative, and distribution costs necessary to operate in a given market. The second category, the one we are focusing on here, are non-product related costs. Simply put, they are those that if removed in total, would have no discernible immediate impact on the product itself or market position of the producing company. Let’s call these two categories product and non-product related costs.

The essay goes on to list the explosion in 'non-product-related' costs, starting with fleets of HR types, health insurance mandates, EPA mandates, legal beagles, and (let's not forget them) tax CPAs and attorneys.

Businesses must spend vast sums in an attempt to be compliant and to minimize the potential devastation that comes from even minor non-compliance. These non-productive costs were small nuisance items at the outset but have since grown to be major components of business costs. They have contributed to U.S. companies finding it harder and harder, in some cases impossible, to compete domestically against global producers of basic manufactured products.

Another item for Governor Walker's "to-do" list.

Are Citizens the First Line of Defense?

Bob Owens encourages discussion.

DHS just sent out its annual "be forewarned" report about potential terrorist attacks.

The document suggests that terrorists may consider public gatherings like “sporting events, parades, religious and cultural activities” to be attractive targets.

And, as Owens notes, ALL of those locations/events have one thing in common: licensed CCW holders are not allowed to carry in the vast majority of those places.

...the simple fact is that the large majority of states — even those that allow concealed carry — have lacked the foresight to see a concealed carry permit holder as anything other than a civilian protecting himself or herself. They have yet to grasp the fact that concealed carry permit holders are the first line of defense against a Mumbai-style attack.

Very interesting, indeed.

Litigate, Regulate, Choke the Economy

Simple formula.

The Obama administration is expected to roll out a major greenhouse gas policy for power plants and refineries as soon as Wednesday, signaling it won’t back off its push to fight climate change in the face of mounting opposition on Capitol Hill.

...The standards are part of a series of climate rules from the Obama administration that have faced fierce opposition from industry groups and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

They will come as welcome news to environmentalists who want the administration to flex its regulatory muscle following the death of climate legislation this year...Politico

Users of electricity and industrials are hardest-hit. Who needs them, anyway?

HT: VerumSerum

The Hastert Story Just Gets Worse, and Worse....

There are 10,000 stories in the Naked City, and 10,000 budget cuts to be made.

(This info is dated February 2010. And for fun, check the byline...)

...Taxpayers also are paying monthly rent of $6,300 to a company partly owned by three sons of a Hastert mentor and business partner. Other public funds go for an $860-a-month 2008 GMC Yukon leased from a dealership owned by a Hastert friend and campaign donor.

Federal law allows former House speakers to maintain a taxpayer-funded office anywhere in the United States for up to five years. The purpose is to "facilitate the administration, settlement and conclusion of matters pertaining to or arising out of" a former speaker's tenure in the House.

Just for comparison, 2KSF at $20/SF would be $40K/year, triple-net. A Yukon? Three $100K++ "aides"?

OPS ORD re: 12/24/10 FR: HQ

As usual, LawDog does it with style, and humor.

At first sound of clatter, all personnel will spring from their racks to investigate and evaluate the cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw up the window sashes. On order, Operations Plan (OPLAN) 7-01 (North Pole Contingency), para 6-8-A9(3), dated 4 Mar, this office, takes effect to facilitate shutter-tearing and sash-throwing. Platoon Commanders, Platoon Sergeants, and all Marines of the Guard will be familiar with procedures and are responsible for seeing that no shutters are torn or sashes thrown in the barracks prior to the start of official clatter.

Much more at the link, including where to obtain MilSpec sugarplums...

The NLRB Goes Wild

"What will not be accomplished by legislation WILL be accomplished by regulation." --Stalin

(OK, I made that up. Sorta. Stalin actually referred to "guns", not "regulation.")

Following the 60-day public comment period (see below), if the rule is adopted, an employer’s failure to post the NLRB notice would constitute an unfair labor practice charge.

No need for hearings or trials. You're just guilty, period.

HT: RedStates

BATFE: Illegal "Emergency" Order

BATFE, under the guise of "emergency", has proposed a regulation requiring that dealers report to BATFE if they sell more than one rifle with >.22 caliber to any one individual within 2 weeks.

(It appears that .22 rifles are exempt, despite earlier confusion.)

Since this is the Obama Administration, that regulation is illegal.

...18 USC §926(b) provides "The Attorney General shall give not less than ninety days public notice, and shall afford interested parties opportunity for hearing, before prescribing such rules and regulations." This is stricter than the Admin Procedure Act's general provision for a "reasonable" comment period, and it has no emergency exceptions. ATFE is only giving 30 days' notice.

Second, the FOPA amendments were intended to cut off future requirements of direct reporting -- I say future because the existing regs (including reporting of multiple handgun sales were grandfathered in, but limited to those specific requirements. Thus far and no farther.

Both notice-period AND "direct reporting" law is being violated by BATFE.

But then, this IS the Obama Administration.

HT: Arms/Law

Well, This Is the 365th Day...

Janet Incompetano of DHS infamously remarked that 'DHS is working 24x7 364 days/year' to protect US citizens.

Perhaps she's interested in Joe Biden's position.

Anyhoo, it seems that the Director/National Intel, took her seriously, and took off a day lately:

The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was interviewed by Diane Sawyer on ABC News yesterday and was completely unaware that Great Britain had just arrested 12 Islamists in a major terror bust.

Who needs to know that sorta stuff, anyway? Isn't Great Britain a foreign country?

HT: Gateway

Oh, Yah, By the Way, Repeal the Clean Air Act!

The current scary-story:

"This is important for you to know, young folks, because, if we're not careful, by this time next year, Congress may eliminate the Clean Air Act. At EPA [sic]. They said they want to do that."

Thus spake Van Jones, the Communist ex-Obama appointee...

And if Congress does that, what will result?

"So then we won't be able to regulate, won't be able to tax, won't be able to sell permits, we're just gonna be cookin' the planet and losin' the jobs"

You've been warned!

HT: AmSpec

Re-Making the UW System

A very interesting think-piece from WPRI which suggests that the UW System might be granted more autonomy from the State in return for less State money. Christian Schneider wrote it.

So happens that a couple of friends are active as (loosely speaking) advisers to a major UW entity. That entity provides actual, real, genuine, monetary AND prestige to the UW, and to Wisconsin as a whole.

But it is so bound up by Legislative (and UW) policy/procedure requirements that it reminds one of Gulliver's situation in Lilliput.

The report should be examined carefully with the thought that some private-sector ideas could be applied to the UW system without either derogating from the UW's mission NOR costing the taxpayers more.

In fact, it might cost taxpayers less. Examples are provided.

"Net Neutrality": The Usual Suspects

Gee. Same old laundry list of lefties...but they raise an interesting question.

...The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney's agenda? "At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies," he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. "But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."

Ambition has to be big, I guess. Deleting 'capitalists' from phone/cable companies leaves.....exactly.....whom?

Well, you already know the answer: ObamaComm!!

(Yes, I put "ObamaComm" in red for a reason.)

Going on:

...Free Press and allied groups such as quickly got funding. Of the eight major foundations that provided the vast bulk of money for campaign-finance reform, six became major funders of the media-reform movement. (They are the Pew Charitable Trusts, Bill Moyers's Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Joyce Foundation, George Soros's Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.)

No Rockefeller? No Tides? Geez. Small parties.

Source-selectivity counts, too!!

The FCC's "National Broadband Plan," released last spring, included only five citations of respected think tanks such as the International Technology and Innovation Foundation or the Brookings Institution. But the report cited research from liberal groups such as Free Press, Public Knowledge, Pew and the New America Foundation more than 50 times.

Not that Brookings is a RightyTighty outfit. It's just that their research was not, um, useful!!

So the "media reform" movement paid for research that backed its views, paid activists to promote the research, saw its allies installed in the FCC and other key agencies, and paid for the FCC research that evaluated the research they had already paid for. Now they have their policy. That's quite a coup

There are more ways to "coup", Mr. Genachowski.

Question for Paul Ryan: does the FCC actually serve a purpose in the 21st Century?

"Transparent Administration"? Nope.

So you'd think that the Signature Legislation--ObamaCare--would be something Teh Won and his merry band would like to trumpet! advertise!! shout about!!!! eh?


Last week, Zeke [Emanuel--Rahm's brother] and Berwick led a meeting at the White House with lobbyists of health-care organizations to begin a discussion on the execution of ObamaCare. The invitation noted, “Thank you for your continued engagement as we take on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We are kicking off a series of White House meetings between senior administration officials and health care providers to exchange ideas on areas in need of attention. We invite you (or a representative) and your organization to join us.”

Surely, a meeting of this magnitude would be open to the press, right? Heck, Obama did promise “an unmatched level of transparency, participation, and accountability across the entire administration.”

That was then, and this is now, where the details of ObamaCare’s strcure are open to a handful of selected lobbyists only — not reporters and not C-SPAN cameras, as the hackneyed pledge went.

Obviously, YOU don't need to know what's going on there. Only the Cognescenti, the Anointed Ones, the Intellectualoids--and those who will profit from ObamaCare--need to know and need to have input.

You, unwashed clingers, will simply bend over.

HT: Human Events

The Problem With Congress and Cognescenti

Bloomberg notes that the 111th Congress wrote a helluvalotta laws.

However history judges the 535 men and women in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate the past two years, one thing is certain: The 111th Congress made more law affecting more Americans since the “Great Society” legislation of the 1960s.


Then they quote an "expert":

“This is probably the most productive session of Congress since at least the ‘60s,” said Alan Brinkley, a historian at New York’s Columbia University.

Just a co-incidence that in the 1960's, LBJ was initiating the bankruptcy of the US by pursuing a 'guns-and-butter' fiscal policy--and the 111th Congress was stepping on the accelerator at the fin de siecle of LBJ's ruinous move?

Fortunately, voters measure Congressional "productivity" in a different fashion than do East Coast cognescenti.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Leggie and Governor "Evasion" Game Cancelled by Walker

It's a favorite trick of Leggies and Governors (and Congresscritters and Presidents).

Pass a law, leave lots of "fill in the blanks" for the regulators--and when the regs hit hard, pretend you can't do anything about it. It's really evasion of responsibility.

Sometimes, the regulators simply write up whatever they want to.

Well, in Wisconsin that will come to a screeching halt, soon.

Governor-elect Scott Walker announced plans Tuesday to require the governor to approve all state rules and give citizens a chance to challenge rules in their local circuit court.

Now, challenges to rules written by state agencies can be made only in Dane County, the seat of state government.

Walker's proposal is to be considered in a special legislative session he will call Jan. 3, the day he is sworn in.

BadaBing BadaBang BadaBoom.

Committee for the Preservation of US Credit

Neat idea.

Coalition of organizations requests a resurrection of the Byrd Committee, which was dedicated to ending Federal spending on useless, or redundant, or antiquated programs.

Not a bad idea. I'd love to be a staffer on that one!