My Blog List

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trump l'oeil


The stockings were hung by the servants with care...

The New York Post has long had a love affair with Donald Trump so it's nice this Christmas their love is multi-generational. Go read the Post's heartwarming account of how Donald Trump, Jr., a young man who fought and clawed his way to the top, and his family plan to celebrate a simple Christmas this year, free from the excesses associated with you-know-who.
[W]hile you might expect a Trump gift exchange to be a lavish, over-the-top affair, the couple insists the spread will be down-to-earth—just a few framed photos and albums for Kai's grandparents and charitable donations made in their relatives' names. "Look, I've been re-gifted presents that I've given my family," Don claims, rolling his eyes. "You know, they're like, 'Oh, great, thanks!' And then you end up getting it back the next year. It's like, 'You know I gave this to you last year, right?' And they're like, 'No, it's a different one!' "
Also nice to see young Trump and his wife engaging in sparkling repartee akin to that for which Trump père is celebrated:
"My mom made me buy CDs this weekend at Target, all of Christmas songs—Frank Sinatra, Elvis, the Chipmunks—and we have to play them on Christmas Eve," Vanessa [Trump] says. "She's like, 'If I'm going to your house, you have to make it like it is at my house.' So the pressure's on."

Don snorts. "I don't know if I'd go with that theory. She's coming to my house, she's gonna play by my freaking rules! I don't think your mom's fully experienced the Trump alpha personality yet."
Yes, just an old-fashioned Christmas for these two lovebirds, their progeny and their dogs:
"We go upstate and cut our own tree every year," Don says. "We started that tradition, even before we were married. We bring the dogs, bring a saw…"

"We also get a little tree for the dogs," Vanessa chimes in about their Havanese puppies, Fraggle and Faluffa—the latter's moniker is a reference to a nickname Vanessa and Don used for each other when they were dating.

"Yeah, we get a little tree for the dogs because we're idiots," Don adds ruefully.
Easy there, fella, don't go putting words into our mouths--we might come up with some other ones, don't you know! But not to worry: young Donald, Jr., steeped in the rich traditions of his forebears, knows it's only a matter of time before he puts aside his rebellious ways and comes back into the fold.
As for Christmases still to come, Don says they'll likely rejoin the Trump family festivities next year. "As you get older, you become your parents. When I was a kid I thought, 'I'm going to do it all differently.' Now I'm like, wait a second—I actually want to do it exactly the same."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tagalog

I have been tagged.

The rules of tagging are

1) Link to the person who tagged you ( Dr. Mabuse and Paula Loughlin).

2) Post the rules on your blog (done).

3) Write six random things about yourself (see below).

4) Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them (see below).

5) Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So, here are six random things about me:

1) I have perfect pitch.

2) My athletic ability is just about nil but I was pretty good on skis when a kid.

3) I tried to be a professional actor for a time (several generations in the family) but quit after realizing I had even less talent for it than athletics.

4) I'd love to have dog someday, a border collie mix, preferably female.

5) For a couple of years in the late 70s I owned a 1963 Cadillac and rebuilt the carburetor (Rochester 4-barrel) myself consulting only the instructions that came with the kit.

6) The chamber works of Brahms are my favorite music.

I tag the following.

1) Patum Peperium

2) The Port Stands at Your Elbow

3. Captain Yips Secret Journal

4) Aufer a Nobis

5) Infelix Ego

6) Apostolicity

I hope I got all this right. If I didn't, sue me.

P.S. Creative Minority Report tagged me well over a year ago and I never responded. I guess this is penance for my lack of courtesy, kind of.

Depths of Depravity

Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker, the entertaining book on the now-quaint seeming excesses of Wall Street in the '80s, on the present debacle:
The funny thing, looking back on it, is how long it took for even someone who predicted the disaster to grasp its root causes. They were learning about this on the fly, shorting the bonds and then trying to figure out what they had done. Eisman knew subprime lenders could be scumbags. What he underestimated was the total unabashed complicity of the upper class of American capitalism. For instance, he knew that the big Wall Street investment banks took huge piles of loans that in and of themselves might be rated BBB, threw them into a trust, carved the trust into tranches, and wound up with 60 percent of the new total being rated AAA.
From portfolio.com and well worth reading in full.

Friday, December 19, 2008

How Does One Get a Job Like This?

From wsj.com:
Annual pay to six top Harvard University endowment managers totaled $26.8 million, up 15% from the year before. The increase comes as the school is cutting its budget in the wake of a steep recent drop in the value of the university's endowment.
And just what does it take to get one fired from a job like this?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The New Ruling Class


New York State, possibly the worst run state in the union, is facing a huge budget deficit, more than $15 billion. Since most state governments, unlike the federal government, are required to balance their budgets, New York's Governor Paterson is scrambling to find additional revenue and is raising and creating new taxes on such a broad array of goods and services even the late George Harrison would have been impressed, e.g. on cable TV, gym dues, clothing, music downloads, manicures, wine, theater tickets, sports events, taxi cabs and many, many more, including, even, non-diet sodas; there will also be sharp increases in fees for state services like license/registration renewals, hunting/fishing licenses etc.

In fact, the situation is so bad in New York State, Albany actually intends to lay off state employees (you read that right). How many, you ask? According to the New York Post, New York State, which numbers 239,830 souls (up 3.4 percent from just two years ago) on its payroll, will be pink-slipping all 520 of them regarded as superfluous, an impressive .2 percent of the state's workforce. Apparently the remaining 239,310, most belonging to powerful unions, are so vital to the public weal they are not expendable. Note that many other states are facing similar deficits and are handling them similarly to New York State.

Meanwhile, Wall Street is laying off workers by the tens of thousands and is joined by other industries are doing same, with layoffs numbering in the hundreds of thousands. It makes me wonder, as the recession deepens and more people in the private sector are let go, if a tipping point will be reached as people, getting laid off or seeing family members and friends laid off, begin to get little bit resentful at the vast army of government workers who not only are well-paid and not being asked to take pay cuts; not only are not being laid-off and not being asked to do whatever it is they are alleged to do, only a little bit better and faster, but are also vested in extravagantly generous pensions that are driving many states to the brink of bankruptcy, California in particular.

Dare people in this country come to the conclusion that state and municipal workers have become the new ruling class in America, accountable to no one, automatically awarded pay increases regardless their productivity and able to retire after thirty years or so at nearly full salary via pensions that are eating up a rapidly increasing proportion of state budgets everywhere? Might people wonder if this vast protected class is really that much more essential to the nation than all those in the private sector now being shown the door?

UPDATE: Thanks to Bob Siletzky for pointing out my atrocious math: .002 percent above should read .2 percent (corrected).

Coming to a Constructed Faith System Center Near You



When I saw the banner you see above on 51st Street today I paid it little mind at first. I am resigned to the genericization of Christmas (and have already posted a rant on the subject) but then noticed where the "Holiday Gift Market" was being held. The "St. Bart's" seen in the banner is not the island in the Caribbean, rather the faded but still somewhat fashionable Episcopal Church on the corner of 50th Street and Park Avenue.



It boggles the mind: a church afraid to use the word Christmas. No wonder the Episcopalians are deserting that institution at a rate of nearly three percent a year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Offensive Taste

An example the pervasiveness of the New York Times' superior left-wing snottiness can be found in the real estate(!) section of its website, in a piece about the Park Avenue duplex belonging to the late William F. Buckley, now for sale. A sampling:
Where Bushes and Reagans, Kissingers and Thatchers once held forth on politics and the miseries of the left, one can hear a lonesome dehumidifier churning in the air.

“They had repartee described not only as brilliant but hilarious,” said Tom Holmes, the real estate agent saddled with the task of bringing to market what was probably the first — and may yet be the last — redoubt of Republican joie de vivre.

The stale self-righteousness that attaches to a certain brand of modern-day conservative was not for Mr. Buckley, a man, who — with his love of yachting, peanut butter and the Constitution — understood that the art of politics did not preclude the act of having fun.

[]

It was there that 160 of his closest friends and colleagues gathered on June 18 for an evening of memorial celebration, billed in the guest book as “One Last Time.”

“Quite a pleasant occasion,” Mr. Holmes recalled with the palest little tremor of a sigh. “Everybody got a jar of peanut butter.” (That would be Buckley’s Best, the writer’s privately produced eponymous brand.)
The style you detect above is one commonly used by those on the left when writing on people whose politics are despicable but enjoy far more booklarnin' than the writer will ever know: sneering patronization. We could just leave it at that, Mr. Buckley and his accomplishments will far outlast those of Alan Feurer, the author of this wee little charmer in the Times.

It bears mentioning, however, a Fifth Avenue denizen, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who lived and entertained far more lavishly than did Mr. Buckley: at the time of her death and in the months and years that followed, the accounts on her in the media, including the Times, were pretty much restricted (and still are) to fawning encomiums to her exquisite taste and the generosity she showed her guests when entertaining. Contrast that with the opening paragraph in Alan Feurer's piece:
Often, on those cherished Monday evenings, he would greet the guests himself with a Bach cantata (sic) on the harpsichord he kept out in the hall. The staff would circulate with the peanut butter canapés he loved so well and, to wash them down, a tray of Veuve Clicquot.
Oh the sins one bears for being rich yet conservative: the nerve of William F. Buckley for serving good champagne to his guests. Jackie-O would never have displayed such effrontery and we can be confident she would never play a Bach "cantata" for her guests on the harpsichord.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., 1918-2008: R.I.P.



Truly a godly man, Avery Dulles was of impeccably WASPy heritage (his father was John Foster Dulles, President Eisenhower's Secretary of State). A deist at best, he decided to convert to Catholicism while an undergraduate at Harvard after noticing, on a dreary, late winter's day, the buds on a tree and suddenly realizing "the existence of an all-good and omnipotent God."

I played hooky from RCIA class last year to go hear Dulles speak at Fordham. Already ill, he had great difficulty in speaking so after saying a few words, turned his text over to another priest to read aloud. His mind, though, was still sharp. If I recall correctly, the Cardinal spoke, in a lecture called "Who Can be Saved," on whether or not there is wiggle room in Origen's declaration: "Extra ecclesia nulla salus" ("Outside the Church there is no salvation"). To vastly oversimplify it, Dulles argued (happily) there is but it is up to God, of course, who gets a pass.

After the lecture there was a reception to meet the Cardinal. With a little trepidation I approached him and told him I was a lifelong Anglican who was undergoing instruction to be received into the Holy Catholic Church. His eyes lit up and he beamed at me: "I am very happy for you," he stammered out. A small gesture, perhaps, but I was elated and will remember it the rest of my days.

Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Heaven on Earth

From wcbstv.com:

Madoff Investors May Be Protected By Government

Judge Says Those Duped Need Aid Under The Securities Investor Protection Act
...[A] federal judge on Monday threw a lifesaver to investors who may have been duped, saying they need the protection of a special government reserve fund set up to help investors at failed brokerage firms.

U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton ordered that clients of [Bernard] Madoff's private investment business seek relief under a federal statute created to rescue cheated investors. Stanton also ordered that business be liquidated under the jurisdiction of a bankruptcy court and named attorney Irvin H. Picard as trustee to oversee that process.
In our Brave New World no one has to fear making a lousy investment, even in one like Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme that claimed whopping double-digit per annum "returns." In our Brave New World due diligence is a thing of the past. If you can't be bothered to check into where you place your millions, even if for years there are suspicions dirty work is afoot, forget about your worries and your cares: if you lose it all, run, don't walk, to our government, state your losses and receive a check, courtesy of of the great unwashed.

After all, if Wall Street morons clutching their MBAs can destroy our country's financial system; if incompetent management and greedy unions can do similarly to our auto industry and all be ransomed by the rest of us, so can the hapless individual millionaire, it's only a matter of fairness (and shame on you for thinking otherwise). If the poor of this nation can be saved by Daddy Grace the Government, why not the rich?

Surely we are the greatest generation ever: we don't need heaven above, we can save souls right down here, thank you very much.

*****

Addendum: Mere happenstance but at the bottom of the linked wcbstv.com story is this image:



"Guarantee happy:" Truly the creed of a godless society.

(Thanks to For What it's Worth)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting Religion

From ABC: "A $14 billion rescue package for the nation's imperiled auto industry sped to approval in the U.S. House Wednesday night, but the emergency bailout was still in jeopardy from Republicans who were setting out roadblocks in the Senate."

Is it possible the Republicans have finally learned corporate welfare is even more damaging to the nation's fisc and morals than welfare for the individual; the first fruits of the Obama victory and Democratic control of both houses?

Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.
(Johnson to Boswell, 1777)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Class with a Capital K

The Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, and his top aide were arrested this morning on corruption charges. "The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement. Staggering indeed: the Governor even consulted with his little woman on a matter, state help for the Chicago Tribune and its sale of Wrigley Field. From the indictment:
73. In another call between Rod Blagojevich and Deputy Governor A that occurred a short time later on November 3, 2008, Rod Blagojevich and Deputy Governor A discussed an editorial from the Chicago Tribune regarding the endorsement of Michael Madigan and calling for a committee to consider impeaching Rod Blagojevich. During the call, Rod Blagojevich’s wife can be heard in the background telling Rod Blagojevich to tell Deputy Governor A “to hold up that fucking Cubs shit... fuck them.”
Behind every successful man...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Resetting the Bowling Pins

From Bloomberg News:
Most U.S. mortgages modified in a voluntary effort to keep struggling borrowers in their homes and stem foreclosures fell back into delinquency within six months, the chief regulator of national banks said.

Almost 53 percent of borrowers whose loans were modified in the first quarter were more than 30 days overdue by the third quarter, John Dugan, head of the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said today at a housing conference in Washington.
Can't say I'm terribly surprised. In the old days, when your credit was no good the banks wouldn't lend you money. Nowadays, when your credit is no good the banks will keep lending you money until you pay it back. They call it "refinancing." I call it "punitive lending."

Thanks to For What it's Worth.

Respect for the Dead

This past weekend Corpus Christi Church held its annual flea market, an event I would normally avoid, being more interested these days in deaccessioning (to use museum terminology) bric-a-brac rather than adding to it. The sale, however, was held in the same room where coffee is served after mass so I had no choice but to have a look.

Given Corpus Christi Church abuts Columbia, it wasn't surprising to find a large book table and given Corpus Christi Church abuts Columbia, it wasn't surprising to find most of the non-fiction titles were decidedly left-wing. Except one: I quickly plucked it from the cast-off Marxiana and asked the friendly person manning the table what it cost, since it hadn't been priced.

She glanced at the book and cheerfully replied, "a dollar is probably too much." I cheerfully demurred and handed over a dollar, getting at a good price a hardbound copy, in fine shape, of Reagan in His Own Hand. I can't say when I'll get around to reading it (though I will) but am pleased already for having ransomed a book containing the writings of my favorite president from the ignominious company of the Gloria Steinem screed it was parked alongside.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Reductio ad Absurdum

As seen on Amazon.com:

Amazon Music's 12 Days of Holiday

Don't Miss a Single Day

12 Days of Holiday
Time is running out to sign up for Amazon Music's 12 Days of Holiday Delivers. A series of 12 exclusive e-mail notices about daily deals, contests, and other offers beginning December 5, this will be the best mail you'll get 'til next year.

Subscribe now

Will there ever be a time when spineless corporate chieftains no longer cower at incurring the wrath of a tiny cadre of non-believers that take delight in taking offense when the holiday celebrated on December 25th is called by its rightful name?

Mark Steyn reports a reader got this response from Amazon when he e-mailed to complain about their deep-sixing the offending word.
Please accept our sincere apologies if you were offended by the use of the word "Christmas" on our website. Our intention in referring to Christmas is to give specific ordering guidance for a specific holiday, not to exclude other faiths.
What a bunch of jellyfish. I wonder the effect if regular Amazon customers who've had their fill of political correctness made just one of their Christmas purchases from a competitor and let Amazon know why.

UPDATE: Thanks to Daniel Muller for alerting me a simple solution to the problem: Tossmas.

UPDATE 2: Jeffrey Goldberg says: Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The First Amendment for Me, Not Thee

From Catholic New York:
New York City's pro–life advocates are bracing for an expected new law that they say will prevent them from gathering outside abortion clinics and will violate their First Amendment rights to free speech.

The Clinic Access Bill, known as Intro. 826 in the City Council, was introduced by Council Speaker Christine Quinn and is expected to pass overwhelmingly, possibly as early as Dec. 9. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is expected to sign it into law.

Opponents in the pro–life community, including officials of the archdiocese, say that a new law is unnecessary, and that the bill is so vaguely worded as to bar any kind of gathering at all. They say that the bill, in effect, allows clinic managers to have people outside their clinics arrested for harassment or interference without having to prove it.
Having people arrested, of course, is the whole point of this law, to suppress opposition. Ironic how the forked tongue left is all too quick to shriek "First Amendment!" whenever it perceives the slightest curtailment of their noisome activities, such as the disruption of church services or shouting down speakers in the academy with whom they disagree. Peaceful demonstrating at abortion clinics by pro-lifers is, however, another matter entirely and occasions shrill proclamations of a woman's "right to chose" or "control of her body;" unenumerated rights that apparently supercede the First Amendment rights of the protesters.

It may seem perverse but in a way I hope this bill passes. The pro-abortionists want to up the stakes in the fight and that should be encouraged. Abortion is a low-background issue in this country, most good people, while finding the subject distasteful, would rather not think or hear about it (for fear, perhaps, of incurring feminist wrath). Since the hearty souls who tirelessly demonstrate at Planned Parenthood locales are not easily intimidated, the passing of the Clinic Access Bill will result in their very public and recurring arrests, thus pushing the "distasteful" matter onto the front page, frequently, for all to see.

Militant pro-abortionists and feminists have few fans (other than their own company) so the frequent jailing of pro-lifers at their behest could result in the majority of people, those who feel at least "uneasy" about abortion, to consider the matter anew (as I did many years ago). Constantly having abortion brought to people's attention by the constant arrest of its opponents might have the salutary effect of persuading them the abomination it is, resulting in support of legislation that at least curtails the practice. That, in turn, would increase the stigma of abortion, making future, more restrictive legislation easier to pass.

In time, the day will come when the unborn child enjoys the same constitutional rights as those today who want to kill it.

UPDATE: a related story.

Friday, December 05, 2008

An Easy Difficult Decision

Reader "Augustine" comments on the posting below about the new Anglican province known as Anglican Christians of North America:
This is a disastrous marriage 'of circumstances'. The (predominant) evangelical Anglicans in the new entity are using the three Anglo-Catholic dioceses as a necessary source of their potential legitimacy as a full province of the Anglican Communion. Four (three?) dioceses are needed for the formation of a province and the evangelicals only 'have' one recognized diocese, Pittsburgh. The new entity's radical commitment to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and to the literal, 'grammatical' acceptance of the 39 Articles marks it as a thoroughly and fundamentally Protestant organization. While Anglo-Catholics may feel that it will allow them time to pursue other alignments, their alliance with Protestants who countenance the 'ordination' of women is not something on which to build faith and in which to preach salvation. The Anglo-Catholic world of North America has no remaining ecclesiastical home in any Anglican body. One can mourn this, but cannot tarry too long over mourning. One must choose: high church Protestantism or Rome.
Right on the mark, I say. As a former Anglo-Catholic I had to make the very choice Augustine posits. After much deliberation I came to the conclusion I could be an Anglican or a Catholic but not both. Upon that realization it was a relatively easy, though certainly not painless, decision to be received into the Holy Catholic Church, regardless her present deficiencies. For in the end music and liturgy, no matter how beautiful, are not sufficient in themselves to get us into heaven.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Schism

As of yesterday there is an alternative Christian church to the apostate Episcopal Church, comprised of various Anglican breakaway churches, four former ECUSA dioceses and various other organizations within and without ECUSA, all of which wanting nothing to do with the Gnostic religion-product offered by ECUSA these days. This is good news for disaffected Anglicans everwhere but there is a sad and fatal flaw to the new organization that calls itself the Anglican Christians of North America (ACNA): it does not come down decisively against women's ordination and by not doing so, it cannot succeed.

Opposition to women's ordination was the raison d'être for many of the schismatic episcopal churches formed in the past thirty years, many of which are now part of the ACNA. There are other organizations, however, also belonging to the ACNA, such as the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, that do permit it. Women's ordination was the camel's nose under tent in 1976 that led to, over the years, numerous other false doctrines infiltrating ECUSA and transforming it into an apostate church, leading to its fracture. The ACNA, by not dealing from the start with this most contentious and scripture-violating issue, will surely see fissures forming in their brand-new organization, it is only a matter of time.

I may be be wrong (perhaps William Tighe could help here) but I seem to recall many years ago the Episcopal Church was in some sort of communion with branches of the Eastern Church. If, however, that was the case it is no more and women's ordination was the cause of the breach. Were the ACNA to declare firmly, as did Pope John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in 1994, that the "Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women," perhaps some branches of the Eastern Churches will make overtures to the ACNA. Since relations with the Orthodox and the Holy Catholic Churches have been growing warmer lately, we might then have cause for hope that progress, however glacial, is being made toward the goal that all Christians pray for, the making of Christ's Church whole again.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

One Question


The pregnant mother of two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg (above) was tried, convicted and executed, all at once, by Islamic terrorists in Mumbai last week for the capital crime of being a Jew. The same terrorists also beat little Moshe after determining he was guilty of the same crime. Christopher Johnson of the Midwest Conservative Journal expresses the outrage civilized people everywhere feel over this barbaric act and does so far more eloquently than I could ever hope to myself.

I thus can only ask one question: do the experts in diplomacy who believe we must negotiate with the likes of those who countenanced the murder of Mosha Holtzberg's mother, also believe those parties will be faithful to any agreement that might be reached?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Season's Greetings

My internet friend Robbo is proprietor of the vastly clever blog The Port Stands at Your Elbow. I heartily commend it but beware: Robbo has a serious weakness that puts a blot on his old escutcheon (as some English writer might put it) specifically, an unhealthy fancy for the alleged paintings of the so-called "Pre-Raphaelites" ("greenery-yallery, Grosvenor Gallery," as another English writer might put it).

Well, he's at it again (albeit only in passing, on a different matter) and rather than take him to task in the combox (an exercise in futility, as I have learned to my bitter disappointment) and knowing he, for whatever reasons, is a regular visitor to this blog, I will merely post the image you see below and hope and pray it might have both the salutary and shock effect of curing good Robbo of his tragic affliction.

Feel better, sir.


Returning Home from the Mall

Wide-Screen Televisions, the New York Times and the Class Struggle

The New York Times outdid itself this weekend with an exculpatory piece on the mob that crushed to death a Long Island Wal-Mart temporary worker early Friday morning, the day after Thanksgiving. Beginning with a headline that likens the incident to the Guernica bombings of the Spanish Civil War, the prose only gets riper and culminates in the Times writer assessing culpability for this horrid incident. See if you can guess whom he really thinks is at fault (you did guess President Bush, didn't you?).
After 9/11, President Bush dispatched Americans to the malls as a patriotic act. When the economy faltered early this year, the government gave out tax rebate checks and told people to spend. In a sense, those Chinese-made flat-screen televisions sitting inside Wal-Mart have become American comfort food.
But, you might ask, doesn't the ravenous horde that stomped the oxygen out of that poor Wal-Mart employee bear at least some responsibility for its barbarous behavior? Kinda, sorta, says the Times but really, those poor benighted fools just couldn't help themselves; blame it on capitalism.
It was a tragedy, yet it did not feel like an accident. All those people were there, lined up in the cold and darkness, because of sophisticated marketing forces that have produced this day now called Black Friday. They were engaging in early-morning shopping as contact sport. American business has long excelled at creating a sense of shortage amid abundance, an anxiety that one must act now or miss out.

...It seemed fitting then, in a tragic way, that the holiday season began with violence fueled by desperation; with a mob making a frantic reach for things they wanted badly, knowing they might go home empty-handed.
Remember, however, it was not food or clothing most of those downtrodden members of the proletariat "wanted badly" to wrap their empty hands around, it was bargain-priced wide-screen televisions and Wii consoles, items the vast majority of the world's people couldn't afford even if they were marked down 99 percent.

No longer seeing itself as a conduit of truthful reporting, rather the molder of correct perceptions and scrupulous eschewer of unpleasant realities, the Times also engages in a bit of photographic duplicity. Observe the image accompanying their overwrought think piece: true, it is of a Wal-Mart store, taken early Friday morning as a mob barrels in but also note the store shown is in Elk City, Oklahoma, a long way from the store in Long Island where the temporary worker met his grizzly end. The New York Daily News website has plenty of photographs taken at the scene in Long Island that the Times could have availed itself of but did not. Why? Take a good look at them and hazard a guess.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Old News

Ask any of the dwindling number of traditionalist Episcopalians (or the increasing number of former traditionalist Episcopalians) just what led to ECUSA's present barren and dessicated state and most will point to the church's famously refusing to deal decisively with heretics in her past. The two most likely cited will be Pike from the 60s and Spong from the 70s, ever drearily to the present day.

Good calls both yet it seems (and should come as no surprise) the miscreants Pike and Spong were hardly the first in ECUSA leadership to embrace heterodoxy. Consider this item from Time Magazine concerning Bishop William Lawrence, who haled from one of the church's most stalwart families.
...In 50 years of priesthood, says the Massachusetts bishop, he has seen most revolutionary changes in the thought of mankind. This has taught him that change is an element of human life. It is not to be feared. It is to be used. "No discovery of science has taken from us our faith," but "when we realize how our conception of the universe has been enlarged ten thousand times, we have a conception of God ten thousand times greater, nobler and more spiritual than was that of our fathers." Hence, although he believes in the usefulness of creeds, Bishop Lawrence refuses to insist on the literal interpretation of any creed, or of the Bible.

For example, although he is personally inclined to accept the traditional idea of the Virgin Birth, he says it is not essential to Episcopal faith.

Before conservatives in the Episcopal Church can begin to purge it of so-called "heretics" they must settle with Bishop Lawrence.

..."Permissive Creeds," in place of obligatory, is the proposal of the Faculty of the Episcopal Theological School, of Cambridge, Mass., of which Bishop Lawrence was once head. Thus, creeds with and without affirmation of the Virgin Birth, would be accepted by the Church. "The Church is greater than the creeds." This idea coincides with Bishop Lawrence's famous utterance : "I cannot define the Triune God," and, from a different point of view with Voltaire's remark: "I will believe in God if you will stop trying to define him." Liberals contend that the spirit of Jesus cannot be caught and perpetually held in any immutable creed.
None of Bishop Lawrence's utterances or proposals would seem at all out of place coming from Katharine Jefferts Schori or her satraps yet they were reported in a story that first appeared in Time January 14th, 1924.

Friday, November 28, 2008

How Could this Show Possibly Fail?




Highlights from Rosie O'Donnell's new variety show on NBC:
Segments included Kathy Griffin impersonating Nancy Grace, Alec Baldwin hitting Conan O'Brian with a pie, O'Donnell singing "City Lights" with Liza Minnelli and Jane Krakowski doing a product-placement-themed striptease for White Castle burgers and Crest Whitestrips.
As it turns out, the show could fail and did so spectacularly, I'm happy to report; one more thing for which to be thankful to almighty God this Thanksgiving weekend.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taking Stock this Thanksgiving

Two things (among many) for which I am thankful to almighty God:

1) My being received into the Holy Catholic Church.

2) My living in a country where, thanks to her enlightened (and yes, Protestant) founders, I could do the above without fear of reprisal.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Much Ado About Nothing


The Bush haters, getting in some last shots, are crying foul over Mrs. Bush's invitations to a Hanukkah reception at the White House that happened to be adorned a with a Christmas tree (shown above). Check out the loving comments beneath the story linked. Well, okay, I suppose a more appropriate image might have been used but honestly, is this really that big a deal?

Until few years ago, I lived smack in the middle of an orthodox Jewish neighborhood in northern Manhattan. Interestingly, I remember some of my Jewish neighbors wishing me "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Easter" on those particular days, not "Happy Holidays." My next door neighbor, a concentration camp survivor, often invited me over on Christian holidays to sample some of his single-malt scotch. He, like many in the neighborhood, rose early each day to attend 7 A.M. morning prayer at the synagogue across the street. This kind man did justice, loved mercy and walked humbly with his God. Not only did it please him to wish me Merry Christmas, he would thank me when the greeting was returned. Regardless, I am sure none of his neighbors considered him a bad Jew for that and he certainly struck me as godly man.

I suspect most of the people expressing outrage over this minor slip-up are also not the least bit religious. Forgiveness is far easier when you love your God.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More of this, Please



More hopeful signs from Holy Mother Church she intends to assert herself more vigorously in the future; from the Catholic News Agency:
Cardinal Stafford criticizes Obama "aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic"

Washington DC, Nov 17, 2008 / 02:27 pm (CNA).- Cardinal James Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, delivered a lecture on Thursday saying that the future under President-elect Obama will echo Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane. Criticizing Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,” he went on to speak about a decline in respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the values of marriage and human dignity.
The lecture was given at the Catholic University of America in commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, which marks him, whatever his failings, as one of the great popes of modern times. The Pope faced considerable pressure to liberalize rules on abortion and contraception but, in the end, heeded only the word of God, thus redeeming the Church from a fate suffered by most of the protestant faiths: the inexorable slide into irrelevancy. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Gulf that Divides Us

This same hymn was sung at Corpus Christi Church Monday evening at a Requiem Mass marking the 450th anniversary of the deaths of Mary Tudor and Cardinal Reginald Pole. Oddly enough, the texts vary considerably between that heard in the video below, shot in England, and the one found in the Catholic Hymnal at Corpus Christi. No doubt exegeses of those two texts reveal the stark disparities in the Catholic-Protestant theological ethos.



Thanks to Hot Rod Anglican.

Oh My, My, My! That Would Never Do!

First among the benefits of embracing the full Catholic faith are, of course, the undisputed sacraments; of that there is, well, no disputing. There are, however, numerous secondary and tertiary benefits and probably foremost among the latter is, for this former Episcopalian at least, no longer feeling the slightest compulsion to slog through the mollycoddling hand-wringing screeds from the pen of the Rev'd Dr. Ephraim Radner, of the Anglican Communion Institute, on the troubles tearing apart the Episcopal Church.

Dr. Radner has for years affirmed in numerous, seemingly interminable, essays the same message: while the Episcopal Church is in a deplorable state (oh dear, dear, dear, my, my!), straying further and further (oh, dear, dear, dear!) from Christianity (oh my!), we mustn't do anything rash (oh no, no, no, my stars!) like jump off this sinking ship (oh dear no, no, no, don't even rock the boat!) and seek out Christian alternatives to an institution rotten to the core (oh dear, dear, dear, no, no, no, heaven forefend!).

Radner comes across, in other words, as the clerical equivalent of the character played by the venerable Edward Everett Horton in umpteen movies, most notably the Astaire-Rogers musicals: the fussy, servile and hesitant nervous-Nellie who instinctively recoils at any suggestion of bold action. Horton was merely a comic actor, albeit a fine one, playing a part. Dr. Radner, alas, serves as the unfortunate exemplar of myriad frightened Episcopalians, clerical and lay, who remain in that apostate organization; appalled at what it has become yet too terrified to flee it, unmindful, apparently, of the possible risk to their souls. Wise up.

Thanks to the MCJ.



Image from Wikipedia

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

...which means lots of hard-luck stories in the media (at least while there is still a Republican in the White House); poverty American style.

For years, Mike and Kelly D'Addeo planned to use their trove of Intel Corp. stock options to send their son Tony to a top college.

Tony would be a good candidate for any school: He's a straight-A senior at Bowie High School and captain of the football team, with near-perfect SAT scores. He's not interested in playing college football; instead, Tony talks about majoring in computer science or engineering.

"I'd like to have my own business someday," he said.

But the plunging stock market has made their stock options worthless and crushed the D'Addeos' Ivy League dreams.

As Herman Westinghouse (a family friend, generations back) put it so nicely: "The poor have their troubles as well as the rich."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grafitti with a College Education

Two months ago I noticed, neatly chalked on a door in the IND Fifth Avenue station at 53rd Street, the following.
S A T O R
A R E P O
T E N E T
O P E R A
R O T A S
That, you may know, is a palindrome but not just any palindrome, it's the grandest and oldest palindrome of them all, dating back to the Romans. While the Latin words don't have much meaning what is kind of fun is they read the same left to right, going down and right to left, going up; down, left to right and up, right to left. What possessed somebody to write this pentagram on a door in the subway (it's still there) we will never know but I hope it stays up for a long time.

Don't Let Them Get Away with it Anymore

The ever quotable Ted Nugent:

You don't need tough love in America, you need tougher love. Around the water cooler, at the church, at school. At the work place, at the picnic, and the bowling alley. You should be pounding the desk with your fist, raising hell, and take this beautiful state back from the pimps, and the whores, and the welfare brats, and the gang-bangers who seems to have all the rights in the world while the good people, the productive, law abiding people don't have jack squat -- and I think I am going to throw up.
Meanwhile, Dr. Helen (Mrs. Instapundit, and I hope she never sees that) is doing her part.
So many people who do not support Barack Obama and are downright sick of the creeping socialism in our country are not speaking up. It is imperative to do so, even in small ways. The other day, I was at a drugstore and the clerk was talking to what looked like a Baby Boomer who was discussing how he voted for Obama. They both scoffed that not many in Tennessee voted for him, "what do you expect?" said the older guy, "this is Tennessee we're talking about." They both chuckled in agreement. I looked at the clerk and said in a loud voice, "So what you're saying is those of us here in Tennessee who voted for McCain are rednecks, is that right?!!!!" There were several people milling around in line at this point and the clerk turned red and stammered, "No, ma'am," and went on to give some lame explanation about what he meant. But I knew I had him. He was visibly shaken and I hope the next time he decides to diss Tennesseans while at work, he'll think twice.
That goes for all Americans.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fort Worth Votes with its Feet


The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is still the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth but is no longer part of the Episcopal Church, having just voted to re-align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone (South America).

Fort Worth has a rocky road ahead. ECUSA will most certainly train its considerable and well-funded legal firepower on the Diocese, seeking to strip it of its its real estate. While the Diocese will emerge victorious no matter what the courts decide (good luck, ECUSA, filling all those empty pews should you win), the legal bills will likely be huge. A much graver matter facing Fort Worth is the issue more than anything else responsible for the present-day morass, that could very well fracture Anglicanism beyond repair: women's ordination.

When the Episcopal Church voted thirty-two years ago to permit women to be ordained, the first bold steps were taken leading that institution from being a godly institution into a political one; the same for other Anglican denominations that later on voted likewise. Neither Fort Worth nor the Province of the Southern Cone ordain women to the priesthood (they do so into the diaconate, however, so the problem will come to haunt them in time) but until the Anglican Communion as a whole definitively resolves this contentious issue, on a theological rather than a civil basis, there will be no peace for the Diocese of Fort Worth, nor the other Anglican dioceses and provinces.

Just the same, let us all wish the Diocese of Forth Worth Godspeed! As a former Anglo-Catholic it it pleases me no end that diocese and the Dioceses of Quincy and San Joaquin, the only three "smells and bells," "bowing and scraping" dioceses in the Episcopal Church, have all fled that fallen institution. While a day does not go by without my thanking almighty God for being received into his Holy Catholic Church, I will never leave off praying for my Christian brethren in the Church where I worshiped most of my life. As an Anglo-Catholic I was taught to pray for the eventual reunification of the Anglican Church with the Church of Rome. As a Catholic, I pray for the same.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ridi, Pagliaccio

Some comic relief in an otherwise bleak political environment:
VP-elect Biden hopes to be a hands-on No. 2

Biden is proving to be a hands-on No. 2 to President-elect Barack Obama. He is carving out his own niche, specializing in foreign affairs, his area of expertise for decades in the Senate, and sticking close to Obama.



Image from Young. Conservative. Catholic.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

As John Paul II Might Have Said...



"The immense energies of social systems will embrace tomorrow's new evangelization."

His Holiness might also have said, "The astonishing mystery of ethical values will embrace modern man's human values."

Or perhaps you'll be moved by "The illuminating contemplation of solidarity will restore tomorrow's human condition."

You see, JPII did not actually make those insightful utterances but he could have. Learn how via Fisheaters.com and the miraculous Pope John Paul II Random Speech Generator. Try it yourself: it's fun and you'll amaze your friends!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Killer Trees

Good news at last about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and its relationship with the loathsome organization known as ACORN:
Baltimore, Nov 11, 2008 / 10:37 pm (CNA).-

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has not yet been able to determine if grants made to ACORN were used for fraudulent voter registration, but has cut off all funding to the community organizing group, Bishop Roger Morin announced on Tuesday.
But...
“It’s a mistake and an erroneous assumption when people equate ACORN activities with something that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is doing,” Bishop Morin added.
Maybe so, your Grace, but who can blame the people, given the CCHD's snuggling up to and subsidization of hard-core left-wing activists? Cutting off ACORN is a fine start but it would be better still if a chain saw were taken to the whole tree .

Thanks to Wannabee Anglican.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Clueless in New York

Riding the elevator to work this morning I noticed a fellow opposite me sporting a large gaudy belt buckle, like you see hawked in those ubiquitous (and awful) New York City street fairs, that formed the letters "DG." Given the lad's dress and his numerous other accouterments (treading gingerly here), it struck me as anomalous he would don hardware promoting Deutsche Grammophon. Stepping off the elevator it finally dawned on me "DG," in this instance, was more likely to stand for Dolce & Gabbana.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Easy Now!

According to the Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal, there's a movement afoot to "secure a national holiday in (Barack) Obama's honor." This is getting out of hand. Wouldn't it be prudent to wait at least until the man has beaten his impeachment rap?

Hitting Rock Bottom, Dude

There's something so delightfully low-rent about this news item. It's not just the poor loser himself, the office he holds (held?) or the crime with which he's charged. It is, I think, the event at which the incident occurred that adds that certain je ne sais qua.
A City Council member from New Jersey had himself a wild weekend which included urinating over people at a nightclub and a subsequent arrest.

Steven Lipski, 44, a New Jersey councilman, made a fool of himself Friday night and possibly endangered his political career by attending a concert by a Grateful Dead tribute band in Washington, D.C., ingesting a serious amount of alcohol and then proceeding to urinate on fellow concertgoers.

Lipski was at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. and the other people attending the show were not equally inebriated so as not to notice what Lipski was doing from atop a second-floor balcony. Police officers were called; he was arrested and charged with simple assault, reports the New York Daily News.
The Washington Post's account of this story reports, "Lipski was described as "a wonderful and caring person." Another...said he always put "the well-being of his fellow human beings first." His pee must be of very high quality.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Church's One Foundation is Jesus Christ Her Lord...



Sort of:
Monks brawl at Christian holy site in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity's holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus' tomb.

The clash between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks broke out in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

The brawling began during a procession of Armenian clergymen commemorating the 4th-century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus.

taken away in handcuffs after scuffling with dozens of riot police.

Six Christian sects divide control of the ancient church. They regularly fight over turf and influence, and Israeli police are occasionally forced to intervene.

[]

Father Pakrat of the Armenian Patriarchate said the Greek demand was "against the status quo arrangement and against the internal arrangement of the Holy Sepulcher." He said the Greeks attacked first.

Archbishop Aristarchos, the chief secretary of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, denied his monks initiated the violence.

[]

A ladder placed on a ledge over the entrance sometime in the 19th century has remained there ever since because of a dispute over who has the authority to take it down.

More recently, a spat between Ethiopian and Coptic Christians is delaying badly needed renovations to a rooftop monastery that engineers say could collapse.
Seems to me there was a temple nearby, about 2000 years ago, where there was squabbling of a similar nature. The outcome was not at all pleasant.



Thanks to Serge's Blog.

Diary of a Newly-Minted Papist: at Corpus Christi Church, West 121st Street


Image courtesy of the NYCAGO

I attended mass once before at Corpus Christi, back in the 90s (as an Anglican, of course), and remember being impressed with the fine music and liturgy, far above the norm for most Catholic churches. That is still the case, I am happy to report, to the extent I wonder if Corpus Christi should advertise itself as the church for recovering Anglicans. I felt right at home in this small but elegant church.

I attended the 11:15 mass, which, while not packed, had a good number of attendees. Things got off to a fine start with a prelude by Bach and the processional hymn: the fine old Protestant standard, Aurelia ("The Church's One Foundation"). To my amazement, all stanzas of the hymn were sung and to my greater amazement, they were sung by all with lusty Protestant vigor. The liturgy also seemed better than usual, as if somebody had gone through the Novus Ordo English translation and corrected some of its more egregious failings, e.g. "and with your spirit" for "and also with you" (the latter I've always found particularly irksome--I wonder if the better English is a legacy of Corpus Christi's long-serving pastor, now deceased, Msgr. Burke). Another agreeable surprise was another borrowing, Healy Willan's service music from the Anglicans.

The rest of the mass proceeded well and when over I was informed there was a coffee hour, the first I have heard of in a Catholic church. I went downstairs and encountered the same sort of quirky pointy-heads whose company I used to so enjoy at my old Anglo-Catholic church. All in all, most satisfactory.

But not perfect, of course (what's the purpose of a blog if not for complaining?). Here are some carps I have with Corpus Christi.
  • The card table altar: there must of been an altar on the east wall once upon a time, along with an altar rail, but no more; ripped out, no doubt, in compliance with the Vatican II reforms.

  • The use of "extraordinary ministers:" the Holy Father has made it clear the rampant use of civilians in the sanctuary is an abuse that must stop. When are the churches going to start obeying him? Fortunately, in the case of Corpus Christi, they only are only used as cup bearers and since poping, I choose not to receive in that form. I just bolted after receiving the host.

  • The Handshake of Peace (or whatever it's called): Ugh, I really hate it. It's a false climax distracting from the true climax of the mass, communion. Corpus Christi has a real coffee hour; there's no need for a little one during the mass.

  • There are an awful lot of lefties in the joint: given its propinquity to the ivy-covered nuthouse to the south (where your Bloviator was a patient many years ago) it's hardly surprising some of the inmates worship at Corpus Christi. It was a tad distressing seeing all those Obama buttons in a Catholic church, five days after the election. On the other hand, everyone I talked to was pleasant and welcoming, probably because politics, even left-wing, are not a religion for them as it is with the atheists.
  • Those minor flaws aside, I am seriously thinking of making Corpus Christi my regular church but that raises a problem. As I understand it, the Holy Catholic Church, being parochial, requires her flock to attend local parish churches. Wishing to be obedient, when I was received I duly registered with my local parish church, a few miles north of Corpus Christi. The trouble is, as my longer-suffering readers know all to well, I am a fool for music and the music at that local parish church is so bad it drives me to distraction. Perhaps if I were a better Catholic I could put up with it, put it out of my my mind, but alas, I am not and cannot.

    Some of you have surely faced this dilemma as well so I ask you, what should I do? Grit my teeth and keep going to the local parish church, taking solace that at least I am being obedient, or flout church teachings and go to a church where I won't feel driven to apostasy every Sunday by the squawking cacophony passed off as music? Suggestions are gratefully received.

    UPDATE: Another question: who gets the pledge?

    Friday, November 07, 2008

    Children's Television

    Chris Matthews, a TV reporter working the children's beat, recently proclaimed: "My job is to make the Obama presidency work...to make this work successfully because this country needs a successful presidency."

    Your Bloviator swore off TV news decades ago, weaning himself from it with surprising ease after reading a day-in-the-life account of the producer of the CBS Evening News. That hard working fellow's day began with a copy of the New York Times placed on his desk by his secretary and his scanning the front page (and only the front page), pencil in hand, circling the stories his crack writing team would later distill down to fifty words or so. Thence to the Teleprompter, from which the avuncular Walter Cronkite would display every night his amazing ability to read words, all spelled out and everything. Reading that copy, it seems, was the sole involvement of America's most trusted newsreader in the production of the CBS Evening News. I learned later the process was similar at the other networks.

    (Some years later the legendary Cronkite announced his retirement. The delightfully brash R. Emmett Tyrell, in his American Spectator, ran a small item that contrasted sharply with the Cronkite encomiums spewing from most of the media. Tyrell closed his piece with the stunningly accurate prediction the beloved Cronkite would soon become "a minor pest.")

    So it's no TV news for this blogger and I would strongly recommend same for all my readers if it weren't for the fact statistically, most of you probably don't watch it anyway (and do any of you actually know someone who does watch network news--anyone, that is, not in the target group for all those ads promoting adult diapers, laxatives and erectile dysfunction cures?).

    Mr. Matthews, however, has performed a valuable public service with his asinine pronouncement. Though the audience for network news programs is tanking in direct proportion to the degree they go into the tank for the left, the jackass blatherer's sanctimonious pronouncement he alone will decide what TV audiences should know and not know could well persuade those few remaining viewers of his, and his vacuous ilk, to click the off-button on TV news for ever. It couldn't have come at a more propitious time.

    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    The Last Refuge of the Scoundrel



    Comes word from Seattle it's okay now to display our country's flag.
    Red, white and true blue: City hoists Old Glory

    Stores see star-spangled sales


    Barack Obama's presidential win held a poignant significance for liberal Seattleites: This is their America, too.

    []

    With newfound patriotism, Seattleites want to wave the flag, hang it from their homes and stick it on their cars.

    []

    Garner, a self-described "flag virgin" who lives on Capitol Hill, bought eight flags Wednesday -- some to wave and others to stick on her car to "mix and match with some nice Obama and peace signs. Then I bought a couple of flags for some friends who wanted to hang them from their truck along with their biodiesel stickers."

    []

    "I'm finally proud to be an American again, after eight years of being ashamed," 66-year-old Mark Lowney said, ticking off a list of complaints, including the Iraq war.

    Gee, that's inspiring. Still, I think it's a safe bet within a few years, if they haven't been burned, a lot of those flags will be found on Craig's List or eBay.

    (h/t The Jawa Report)

    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    The First Casualties of the Election


    Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

    Up the Establishment!

    After thirty-eight calendar years we can now state, at long last and unequivocally, the 60s are finally at an end: the revolutionaries have won and now occupy the offices of the establishment. They now are the establishment, they are the man.

    Meanwhile, your Bloviator is of reasonably chipper demeanor as should be all conservatives. Obama, Reid and Pelosi will soon be attempting the crafting of their respective Utopian visions. Those visions will conflict, of course, soon on, and the honeymoon will then be over for President Obama. When that happens, conservatives consigned to the back rows of the bleachers in the political arena can just relax, swill beer and enjoy the sight of congress and president (the establishment) tearing each other to shreds. Add to that the thrilling spectacle of hordes of Kos Kidz and moveon.ogres (establishment lackeys) who, not having the Republicans or Chimpy McBushhitlerburton to excoriate in their characteristically colorful language, will be forced to chose sides among their fellow left-wingers in office. These next four years are not going to be dull.

    The nation will survive the farrago. During their wilderness years, Republican officials might profitably occupy themselves getting reacquainted with the notions of limited government, limited taxation and free markets. Who knows? After four years of establishment politics, those radical ideas' time may have come again.

    Concerning the Election Results

    Steven den Beste digs deep and finds a nugget of good news:
    No one will be spinning grand conspiracy theories about this administration's Vice President being an evil, conniving genius who is the true power behind the throne.

    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    Score at Least Two for McCain in Northern Manhattan

    A father to his young son, overheard as I was nearing the polling station: "Actually, I voted for McCain."

    Exit Poles

    Here's one way to get off out the vote.
    Babeland Offers Sex Toys for Votes

    While some voters are waiting in line for free coffee (Starbucks) or ice cream (Ben & Jerry's) after they vote, others are waiting in line to get off. Sex-toy retailer Babeland is offering free sex toys from Nov. 4 to Nov. 11 at its New York and Seattle stores to those who produce a voter card or simply say they voted. One of two toys will be given away: for the ladies, Silver Bullet vibrators; for the gents, the Maverick Sleeve (heh).

    Thanks to the Instapundit.

    Diary of a Newly-Minted Papist: at the Church of Saint Agnes, East 43rd Street

    A Requiem Mass for All Souls was celebrated yesterday evening at St. Agnes Church using the Old Rite with chant and early polyphony. The liturgy and music were superb and I was deeply impressed with the expertise of the celebrants, most of whom looked about half my age.

    St. Agnes was for many years the home of the silver-tongued orator Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen. The original church, a Victorian-Gothic pile of gloomy Catholic bricks, burned sixteen years ago and was rebuilt in classical style. It doesn't work for me. The proportions seem wrong and the place has the look and feel of having been done on the cheap. It is also not helped by a garish mural on the east wall painted by the cartoonist for the New York Post.

    The main problem with St. Agnes, fortunately, is an easy fix: the interior is way over lit, far too many glaring fixtures giving the church all the sanctity of a Holiday Inn conference room. If they left some of the fixtures turned off or installed lower-wattage bulbs, St. Agnes would be vastly improved and would have a much lower electric bill as a bonus.

    Saturday, November 01, 2008

    Diary of a Newly-Minted Papist

    For the nonce I best avoid listening to recordings of Anglican liturgical music. There is no wavering in my love for Holy Mother Church but the hearing of such glorious sounds as Herbert Howells' setting of the Te Deum and Jubilate, its reminder of what this music-loving fool had to walk away from, is almost too painful to bear.

    UPDATE: Reader Daniel Muller writes:
    I see nothing wrong with stopping in to an Episcopal or Anglican church for Morning Prayer or Evensong. For several years, I would attend Evensong at Church of the Incarnation in Dallas almost exclusively for the music. There is magnificent (pun intended) English service music there.

    Realistically, however, Albion is fading into the cultural mists rather sooner than later, so even that option may not remain open long for any of us, Catholic, Episcopalian, or Anglican.
    That's a great suggestion, Daniel, and lucky for me, St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, also notable for its music, is mere minutes from where I work. Evensong is celebrated three times a week there and I don't recall anything in the Catechism prohibiting me from attending every now and then.

    I wonder if there will ever be an expansion of the Pastoral Provision and Anglican Use. It would be splendid, albeit ironic, if Holy Mother Church ended up the custodian of the Anglican liturgical and musical tradition in this country.

    Why are Kidz is Ilitterit

    The following letter, along with the editor's reply, is copied in its entirety from yesterday's New York Post.
    I have been a teacher in the New York City school system for over twenty years. For all of that time, I have also been a very proud member of the UFT.

    Over the last several years, there have often appeared very negative comments presented in your editorials about the quality of New York City teachers.

    You have frequently alluded to the fact that many or most teachers cannot spell correctly.

    I would personally like to correct your front-page headline "Isiah Getting Just Deserts" (Oct. 27).

    Deserts are arid regions. I think you meant to say the word "dessert."

    I would like to think this was just a typo. However, perhaps whoever wrote this headline was not fortunate enough to attend school in New York City.

    Rita Cooperman

    New York Teacher

    The Bronx

    EDITOR'S NOTE: The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Edition, defines "desert," as: n., something that is deserved or merited, especially a punishment. Often used in the plural.
    Ms. Cooperman, take heart. While you were indeed made a fool of in the pages of the UFT-trashing New York Post, you also happened upon a truth: illiterates are churned out by unionized public schools everywhere, even those in the Elysian Fields of Greenwich, Connecticut.

    Friday, October 31, 2008

    Happy Hallowe'en!

    And to my Lutheran reader(s?), Happy Reformation Day! To help you celebrate, please enjoy this gratuitous, albeit clever, slam at us Catlicks.

    95 Theses


    If You Know What's Good For You...

    Distinguished political scientist and military analyst Erica Jong, perky authoress of the classic 70s Bildungsroman Fear of Flying, gazes into her crystal ball:
    If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it's not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets.
    Gee whiz, I know those on the left demur vigorously when their patriotism is questioned but just the same, I'm tempted to believe Miss Jong is issuing a threat as well as a prediction.

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    The Efficient Market

    I have been wondering whether it was only the credit crunch and bad mortgages that were pushing the market down so relentlessly these past weeks. George Newman of the Wall Street Journal suggests there is another factor: the upcoming election and its likely winner; the market is simply pricing in Barack Obama's victory. Newman asks some salient questions, including
    - Have you thought of what a gradual doubling (and indexation) of the minimum wage, sailing through a veto-proof and filibuster-proof Congress, would do to inflation, unemployment and corporate profits? The market now has.

    - Have you thought of how easily a Labor Department headed by a militant union boss would push through a "Transparency in Labor Relations" law that does away with secret ballots in strike votes, and what this would do to industrial peace? The market now has.

    - Have you thought of how a Treasury Secretary George Soros would engineer the double taxation of the multinationals' world-wide profits, and what this would mean for investors (to say nothing of full-scale industrial flight from the U.S.)? The market now has.

    - Have you thought of how an Attorney General Charles J. Ogletree would champion a trillion-dollar reparations-for-slavery project (whittled down, to be fair, to a mere $800-billion, over-10-years compromise), and what this would do to the economy? The market now has.

    - Have you thought of what the virtual outlawing of arbitration -- exposing all industries to the fate of asbestos producers -- would do to corporate liability and legal bills? The market now has.
    Read it all, Newman asks many more questions, some of them directed at John McCain (no stranger to populism himself), e.g. "If the rise in the price of oil from $70 to $140 was due to "greed" (the all-purpose explanation of the other side for every economic problem), was the fall from $140 to $70 due to a sudden outbreak of altruism?"

    Of the two candidates, however, Obama is far more hostile to free markets, lower taxes and a friendly business climate. Since he is expected to win this election, the present Dow and S & P 500 indices could well be a a reasonable harbinger the costs of the upcoming assault on capitalism.

    His Brother's Keeper

    It seems the Times of London did something the American newspapers were unwilling to do: they went searching for the aunt Barack Obama writes so fondly of, Zeituni Onyango, in his apologia pro vita sua and found her living "in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate [housing project in Americanese] in South Boston." This is not quite the journalistic coup it might appear, the Times reporters probably just Googled her name, as I recently did, and her phone book listing popped right up with her address and number (no doubt it will be "disappeared" soon but it was there as of 9:26 this morning). Then again, British reporters, unlike their American counterparts, aren't beset with the all-consuming task getting the One into the White House.

    In their travels, the Times also managed to find Barack's "Uncle Omar," who is also in a bad way, having once been beaten by "armed robbers with a 'sawed-off rifle' while working in a corner shop in the Dorchester area of the city. He was later evicted from his one-bedroom flat for failing to pay $2,324.20 (£1,488) arrears, according to the Boston Housing Court."

    Well, so what, Obama's supporters will argue. Barack can hardly be expected to take responsibility for all the lost relatives who will, no doubt, come calling with tales of woe when he is elected president, can he? The answer, of course, is no. In the case of the two unfortunates above, however, it strikes me as more than a little galling that Obama is willing using them as props in his presidential campaign but, apparently, unwilling to use some his considerable income to ease their wretched conditions a bit; you know, to "spread the wealth around" a little. I guess, like most on the left, he feels that's the government's job.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church instructs:
    The fourth commandment is addressed expressly to children in their relationship to their father and mother, because this relationship is the most universal. It likewise concerns the ties of kinship between members of the extended family. It requires honor, affection, and gratitude toward elders and ancestors.
    Never let it be said Obama doesn't pay homage to his elderly kin. He just doesn't want to pay money to them, his, anyway; it's okay if it comes from the rest of us.

    UPDATE: Ms. Onyango's phone listing on Google has been (quite rightly) removed.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    The Incongruity of it All

    The media is regarding the election of Barack Obama to the presidency as a foregone conclusion and the pollsters seem to back up that conclusion. If that is indeed the case, so be it. As Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York, put it with superb prescience after losing in the primaries to his eventual successor, David Dinkens: "The people have spoken. It is now time for the people to be punished." Dinkens' spectacular ineptitude led to his being soundly defeated for re-election after only one term by a Republican(!), Rudy Giuliani (Dinkens, the mayoral equivalent of Jimmy Carter, has been bitter about it ever since). New York City flourished during Giuliani's administration. Similarly, our nation will survive an Obama administration and will surely flourish anew in time.

    What I don't understand, however, is how we got to this point. Our nation has long been center-right politically and I have not sensed a great leftward shift of the political ethos unless the traditional left-wing slant of the media now accurately reflects the views of the majority of Americans. I think not so how to explain the numerous polls showing Obama over McCain, with leads ranging from a few points to well into the double-digits? The estimable Roger Kimball is scratching his head over that, as do I. Kimball writes:
    If the pundits are to be believed, the American people are just about to elect as President a man who espouses in concentrated form just about every bad, discredited, and exploded social and economic idea of the last fifty years.

    [snip]

    In other words, Obama plans to resuscitate the welfare policies of the Great Society, but by stealth. It will be the same thing–the dole–but it will be called a “tax credit,” which has a more emollient sound than “relief,” “public charity,” “the dole.”
    Yet Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to income redistribution. So what gives? It just does not seem plausible the people's dissatisfaction with John McCain, not to mention the president and Republicans in general, is so intense they would line up behind a candidate who is the re-incarnation of Eugene Debs. Is it possible so many polls could be so out of whack, that there is some fatal flaw to their design that skews the results? Is it possible the polls are wrong?

    UPDATE: Others are wondering the same but I am not optimistic.

    Friday, October 24, 2008

    What a "Clump of Tissue" Looks Like



    Edward Cardinal Egan, writing in Catholic New York (excerpts):
    Just Look

    The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.

    Have you any doubt that it is a human being?

    []

    But you might protest that all of this is too easy. Why, you might inquire, have I not delved into the opinion of philosophers and theologians about the matter? And even worse: Why have I not raised the usual questions about what a "human being" is, what a "person" is, what it means to be "living," and such? People who write books and articles about abortion always concern themselves with these kinds of things. Even the justices of the Supreme Court who gave us "Roe v. Wade" address them. Why do I neglect philosophers and theologians? ... I looked at the photograph, and I have no doubt about what I saw and what are the duties of a civilized society if what I saw is in danger of being killed by someone who wishes to kill it or, if you prefer, someone who "chooses" to kill it...

    []

    Adolf Hitler convinced himself and his subjects that Jews and homosexuals were other than human beings. Joseph Stalin did the same as regards Cossacks and Russian aristocrats. And this despite the fact that Hitler and his subjects had seen both Jews and homosexuals with their own eyes, and Stalin and his subjects had seen both Cossacks and Russian aristocrats with theirs.

    []
    We [cannot] honorably cover our shame (1) by appealing to the thoughts of Aristotle or Aquinas on the subject, inasmuch as we are all well aware that their understanding of matters embryological was hopelessly mistaken, (2) by suggesting that "killing" and "choosing to kill" are somehow distinct ethically, morally or criminally, (3) by feigning ignorance of the meaning of "human being," "person," "living," and such, (4) by maintaining that among the acts covered by the right to privacy is the act of killing an innocent human being, and (5) by claiming that the being within the mother is "part" of the mother, so as to sustain the oft-repeated slogan that a mother may kill or authorize the killing of the being within her "because she is free to do as she wishes with her own body."

    []

    Do me a favor. Look at the photograph again. Look and decide with honesty and decency what the Lord expects of you and me as the horror of "legalized" abortion continues to erode the honor of our nation. Look, and do not absolve yourself if you refuse to act (emphasis added).

    Read it all. I wish Nancy Pelosi, Joseph Biden and Barack Obama would but am not holding my breath. And when someone claiming religious authority insists

    As part of our baptismal vows we commit "to strive for justice and peace among all people" and "respect the dignity of every human being...where the weakest are protected and God’s creation safeguarded, and where each person has access to the blessings of life,"
    it behooves us to ask that person if those grandly stated rights also apply to the creation seen in the picture above.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Oh, Hear Us When We Cry Today,

    Dear Lord, Save Johnson's MCJ.

    Christopher Johnson is experiencing fresh woes with his website, the Midwest Conservative Journal, the source to go to after hearing the latest unbelievable rumor about the Episcopal Church and wanting to know if it's true (of course it is, he will confirm). In the meanwhile, while repairs are effected, avail yourself of his backup site and while there, hit the PayPal button and send him a donation. Those repairs don't come cheap.

    UPDATE: It's fixed.

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Holy Nothingness

    From Boston.com, news of the latest innovation in the Episcopal Organization:
    Who is worthy to receive?

    Open Communion trend stirs hearts, a quiet controversy

    A quiet revolution is taking place at the altars of many churches - in the form of bread and wine.

    Communion, the central ritual of most Christian worship services and long a members-only sacrament, is increasingly being opened to any willing participant, including the non-baptized, the nonbeliever, and the non-Christian.

    The change is most dramatic in the Episcopal Church, particularly in liberal dioceses like Massachusetts. The denomination's rules are clear: "No unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church." Yet, a recent survey by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts found that nearly three-quarters of local parishes are practicing "open Communion," inviting anyone to partake.
    Wherefore? For the innovators it, like everything else, is a matter of civil rights. The 60s will never die.
    "Who am I to say who should be at God's table?" said the Rev. Gale Davis Morris, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Acton. "Most of Scripture is pretty clear about who the ultimate judge is, and it's not anybody that's human. And I would much rather err on the side of inclusion than exclusion."
    Readers more knowledgeable than I please correct me but I seem to recall a time in the Episcopal Church when even non-Episcopalians were not permitted to receive communion, first having to be confirmed or received. That changed, like so much else, in the 70s when communion was opened to all Christians, in the name of Holy Inclusivity as well in hopes of drawing more people into the Episcopal Church (click here to learn just how effective that gambit proved).

    The Holy Catholic Church (as do the Orthodox and some Protestants) permits only her own to receive, not because she is mean-spirited and exclusive or passing judgment (which only God can do--the priestess quoted above at least got that part right, sort of) but because the Church regards communion with such seriousness, believing the bread and wine is transubstantiated into the actual Body and Blood of Christ, to be regarded with awe.

    The Church teaches, in accordance with the Apostle Paul, that anyone who dares receive the Body and Blood without being in a state of grace, "eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body" (I Corinthians 11:29). The Catholic Church's job is to get everyone into heaven so she forbids those things that get us into hell. It is all part of the program and those who who don't like it are welcome to go elsewhere, even to the Episcopal Church.

    For the sake of clarity and truth in advertising, however, the Episcopal Church should jettison the word "Catholic" from the Creeds (and increasing numbers of parishes are doing just that, by dispensing with the recitation of the Creeds altogether). To expand further the administering of communion to any and all without restrictions like, say, belief in God or repentance for sin; without making even the slightest effort to make oneself fit to receive Our Lord, renders communion into a meaningless and empty act, utterly devoid of significance; nothing more than a cracker washed down with a shot of cheap wine. You can do better in a bar.