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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tick-Tock

On my way to evening Mass (Extraordinary Use, Latin) at the Church of Our Saviour, I passed by Lord & Taylor's department store and heard rock music coming out of a loudspeaker; tied in I imagine (I didn't look) with a window display, something for which L & T is justly famous. It did strike me hearing rock and roll emanating from that venerable and (let's face it) slightly dowdy institution, thinking it would be more appropriate for them to be broadcasting music more popular with older persons. I then realized the tune playing was "Do You Believe in Magic," by John Sebastian and the Lovin' Spoonful, released in 1965, forty-three years ago. Lord & Taylor's was indeed broadcasting music to older persons, this one included.

The Modern Refuge for Scoundrels

Eric Alterman, a hack liberal columnist and book writer, has just churned out a new volume thrillingly entitled "Why We are Liberals." It is a book I will never read, of course, because I really don't want to know the reasons and am able only to offer my deep condolences. Fortunately (speaking of condolences), Tim Graham of NewsBusters has read it and in the book he informs us Alterman proclaims Laura Ingraham, the conservative radio talk-show hostess (and Catholic convert), an anti-Semite, largely in part to her favorable disposition toward the movie "The Passion of the Christ" as well her damning statement: "I want to see any more that drives the anti-Christian entertainment elite crazy." Alterman lamely pounces with his "Gotcha:" "Presumably Ingraham did not mean to imply that this 'anti-Christian elite' was mostly made up of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, or Scientologists." Really? Pray tell why "presumably," Mr. Alterman; begging the question, petitio principii and all that, don't you know.

I will confess I am not a huge devotee of Ms. Ingraham but do enjoy tuning in her program when driving in upstate New York, finding her a welcome alternative to NPR and the lugubrious panel discussions on what ever happened to Woody Allen. She is quick, lively, well informed and entertaining. Admittedly, a little of Ingraham's radio program goes a long way for me but I have listened to her often enough over the years to aver there is no possible way she is an anti-Semite.

So why Alterman's charge? Anti-Semitism and racism are omnibus accusations made by left-wing critics against those whose opinions they despise but are too lazy or stupid to argue lucidly against. Charges of anti-Semitism and racism are all but impossible to refute thus they bring the "argument" to a close, giving idiots like Alterman and his loyal liberal legions the faux-sensation they have proved their case. They are almost always charges without merit, perpetrated by scoundrels.

(h/t Creative Minority Report.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Why They Keep Cranking Out These Expensive Bombs

The returns are in and it looks as if the latest anti-Iraq war flick, Stop-Loss, is a turkey of the first rank, bringing in only $1.6 million on opening day. No surprise there, all of its predecessors have done as poorly and so will its many successors (which will be made, count on it). The studio execs are reacting in usual fashion, along the lines of, "the American people (read "those benighted morons") just don't want to watch a picture about the Iraq war, no matter how well made it is." Meanwhile, we in the real world ask bemusedly, "Why can't those idiots give us a picture about the Iraq war that's well made and sympathetic to the cause? They'll clean up." A very good question indeed and the answer is, they don't do it because they can't.

To the Hollywood community, monolithic in its antipathy toward George Bush, the military and patriotism in general, the idea of making a movie offering a positive view of the Iraq war is as odious to them as a sympathetic account of Stalin starving the Kulaks into submission is to the rest of us. So blinkered are the Hollywood elite, they will continue pouring money into lavishly produced two-hour, anti-Iraq screeds and with each release hopefully imagine that with this brilliant director and that pretty-boy star, this is the one the American people will flock to. They will not. As a much smarter and savvier producer of years past, Sam Goldwyn, would have told them, the people will stay away in droves.

(h/t the Instapundit.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Eve of Destruction?

I can't help wonder if it's more than happenstance the Democratic Party and the Episcopal Church appear to be racing each other to the abyss. Could we be witnessing the end days of the Baby Boomer left? Naw, it couldn't be...but I wonder, just the same.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Urban Legend About a Rock and Roll Legend...

That happens to be true: Ted Nugent, an avid crossbow hunter, in an interview with smarmy leftist reporter Richard Chalmers in the Independent on Sunday (UK):
"What do these deer think when they see you coming?" I ask him. "Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner? Or, there's the man that shot my brother?"

"I don't think they're capable of either of those thoughts, you Limey asshole. They're only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French."

You can read the whole interview on bnet.

Abraham Lincoln: Mackerel Snatcher

A Catholic Lincoln? That fascinating possibility is raised in an entertaining piece by Andrew Ferguson of First Things on how religious leaders of every stripe have, over the years, tried to lay claim to Abraham Lincoln; from Mary Baker Eddy to Swami Paramahansa Yogananda to Robert Ingersoll, the founder of Ethical Culture. Also among the claimants was one Nettie Colburn Maynard, a spiritualist, who averred Daniel Webster had proffered advice on the Emancipation Proclamation to the 16th president via her very own self, during a séance at the White House in 1862. To your Bloviator, however, the most jolting claim for Lincoln was made by George Cardinal Mundelein of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1926, wherein His Eminence insisted (as Ferguson writes)
Lincoln—who was reared by Baptists, married by an Episcopalian, and subjected in his adulthood to endless hours sitting in straight-backed pews being preached at by Presbyterians—was nevertheless a man of closeted Catholic faith, who delighted in laying out an altar for Mass whenever his Catholic aunt came to visit.

The mind boggles: Abe Lincoln, closeted sacristan? Ferguson doesn't pursue the matter but a little Googling turns up a period article from Time Magazine that sets the matter straight. In the grumpy protestant voice that was Time was in those days, we learn the Cardinal was mistaken.

Last week William Eleazar Barton, hoary custodian of Lincolnia, proclaimed that Father Cyr, who his Eminence declared celebrated the masses at Lincoln's stepmother's, had not yet been ordained when Lincoln left his father's home, that Sarah Bush Lincoln was not Catholic by birth and that she died in the communion of the Disciples Church, that Father St. Cyr never celebrated mass in the Lincoln abode...

At least, we learn later, the good Cardinal's mistake was an honest one, that "he had merely confused two Abrahams of the Lincoln clan, two first cousins."

One could hardly fault Cardinal Mundelein for holding up Abraham Lincoln to Catholics as an example of virtue. We should also note a Catholic claim to Lincoln, with his strong feelings for dignity and respect owed all individuals and the rights of the oppressed, is a lot more tenable than the nauseating spectacle of present-day celebrity lefties who fawn over the likes of Fidel Castro and such.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Still a Commie Atheist

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has dismissed widely circulated accounts of his conversion to Christianity, insisting they are "fantasies" and that he "has been and remain[s] an atheist." Nostalgic lefties worldwide are breathing a huge sigh of relief (collectively, of course).

(h/t the Wannabe.)

Liberal Confluence

March 26, 2008 -- ALBANY - Gov. Paterson recently twice traveled with an ex-girlfriend to campaign for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Paterson, when he was lieutenant governor, and Lila Kirton, director of community affairs for former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and now Paterson, traveled to Iowa on Nov. 20 and 21 and South Carolina on Jan. 24 through 27 to campaign for Clinton (from the New York Post).

Paterson, for you non-New Yorkers, is the married and astonishingly randy horndog pinch-hitting for Spitzer after the now ex-governor's difficulties with hired help were bared (to pardon the expression). You wonder if any other famous names will pop up in this spectacle.

Virtual Truth

With a little bit of digital assistance, even Hillary can tell the truth.



(h/t Hot Air.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Making Race the Issue

Insightful commentary (via the Instapundit) from a good blog called the Bosque Boys:

Worse yet, after so skillfully avoiding the potential pitfall over the course of his long campaign, the crisis forced Obama into making race the central motif of his candidacy. Goodbye subtlety. Goodbye quiet undertone. Goodbye plausible deniability. This development makes his run exponentially more challenging.

Again, why did he do it? Again, he had no choice. He was desperate. Only a wider and more majestic discussion of race could temporarily insulate him from the growing firestorm.

Putting race at the forefront, of course, has been the Clinton campaign's strategy since Barack Obama became a contender. Hillary is aware many voters find her repulsive so her only recourse is to appeal to the party core, which is not the coastal elite who read the New York Times; Democrats because there is no viable Socialist party in America. The elite (by definition) are vastly outnumbered by a much larger demographic: white, middle-class populists who also lean to the left economically but lean to the right (although most would never admit it in public or to a pollster) on race. When the populist core watches those e-mailed YouTubes of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright shrieking "Hillary ain't never been called a nigger," they will nod their heads in agreement, say to themselves, "Damn right she ain't" and cast their votes for her in the upcoming primaries.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nemesis

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church is working furiously to have Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh deposed before he pulls the diocese out of the the church, in other words, she's trying to fire him before he can quit. Duncan, of the evangelical rather than the catholic branch of the Episcopal Church, recently sent a letter to the presiding bishop, responding to her and some committee's demand he aver he is "fully subject to the doctrine, discipline and worship of [the Episcopal] Church." This he does and offers eight examples to support his affirmation (you can read them here). Perhaps unwittingly, however, Bishop Duncan, in his third example, provides a clue to what led to the undoing of the Episcopal Church, and what will, in all likelihood, lead to the breakup of the Anglican Communion: "I have preached and taught nothing but what faithful Anglicans and mainstream Christians have always preached and taught, with the exception only that I have supported and encouraged the ministry of women in Holy Orders" (emphasis added).

It seems peculiar Bishop Duncan should bring up women's ordination here and I wonder if he does so as if to cry out in protest to the presiding bishop: "Look here: on this matter, so sacred to you to you and your ilk, I am on your side. How dare you come after me!" If that was the bishop's ploy, it will have no effect. Liberals in the Episcopal Church, as do those in politics, have a hoary tradition of extracting all they can out of members of the opposition, then dumping or destroying them once they are no longer needed, or are in the way. Sadly for Bishop Duncan, that "exception" he supports, the ordination of women, is the wedge that created the opening through which countless bizarre innovations have been forced onto the Episcopal Church, rendering it into the Gnostic, cult-worshiping organization it is today; once that sine qua non of Catholicism, the male priesthood, was abrogated, it was inevitable Episcopalian liberals would come to regard most other hallmarks of catholic worship as antiquated and in need of updating or jettisoning.

By all accounts Bishop Duncan is a good and decent man but his and his colleagues' acquiescing so many years ago to the liberal demand for women priests (which he still supports) has come back to haunt him, in a way he could not have imagined in his wildest dreams.

(h/t the MCJ.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Class, the Sunday School Lesson for Today is...

Irony and its successful employment.

From the Bulletin of the Church of Our Saviour, New York, NY:

CALL TO CITIZENS

Governor Spitzer has proposed legislation which would establish abortion as a "fundamental right" in the State of New York. Our state has the highest abortion rate in the nation. Governor Spitzer, as Attorney General, consistently tried to limit or close agencies promoting adoption instead of abortion and teaching chastity in the schools. The Governor’s proposal would also endanger the liberty of the Church, for it would force Catholic hospitals, social service agencies, and even schools to cooperate in abortion and other objectionable practices at the risk of losing their state-issued licenses. Please contact your state legislators about this proposed legislation. The Governor and the Cardinal were scheduled to meet about this matter on March 10 but the meeting was cancelled because at that hour the Governor had to address the press about matters concerning his personal conduct (emphasis added). The legislation still is being considered. Information on what you can do is available on the New York State Catholic Conference website, nyscatholic.org.

Extra credit question:

Explore and discuss causality between the matter that preoccupied the Governor and the matter the Cardinal had hoped to discuss with him.

Friday, March 14, 2008

This is News?

(Update: the good Archbishop means business.)

From Catholic World News:

Excommunication for women claiming ordination

St. Louis , Mar. 14, 2008 (CWNews.com) - Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has formally announced the excommunication of three women who participated in a ceremony that they described as ordination to the Catholic priesthood.

In defiance of warnings from the archbishop, two Missouri women-- Rose Marie Hudson and Elsie McGrath-- claimed ordination during a November 11 ceremony performed at a Jewish synagogue. A German woman who claims to be a bishop, Patricia Fresen, led the ceremony. Since that time, Hudson and McGrath have been serving as "pastors" of a group based in a Unitarian church.

[]

"The situation is sad for the whole Church," Archbishop Burke said, urging the faithful to pray that the women will be reconciled.

Well of course it's sad, we should always feel sadness for delusional idiots who, by donning vestments and passing out crackers, actually believe they can upend 2000 years of Magisterium and Scripture, forcing an archbishop to excommunicate them. What's even sadder is this is considered newsworthy. If foolishness like this had occurred fifty years ago, the only place you would have read about it would have been in Ripley's Believe it or Not, in the funnies.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It Could be Even Worse

The upside to preparing for your first confession by creating a list of all the bad things you've done in your life, using the handy Commandment by Commandment Checklist™ provided by your catechists, is even though the list is depressingly long indeed, there are still a lot of really, really bad things you somehow managed not to do. That should be the cause for at least a little rejoicing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mugged by Stupidity

I have long suspected there was a conservative lurking inside David Mamet, thus am pleased he has just outed it, via (oh irony of ironies!) the Village Voice. Written in colorful Mametese, it is well worth reading in its entirety but here are a few choice elements.

As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.

These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life. How do I know? My wife informed me. We were riding along and listening to NPR. I felt my facial muscles tightening, and the words beginning to form in my mind: Shut the fuck up. "?" she prompted. And her terse, elegant summation, as always, awakened me to a deeper truth: I had been listening to NPR and reading various organs of national opinion for years, wonder and rage contending for pride of place. Further: I found I had been—rather charmingly, I thought—referring to myself for years as "a brain-dead liberal," and to NPR as "National Palestinian Radio."

[]

What about the role of government? Well, in the abstract, coming from my time and background, I thought it was a rather good thing, but tallying up the ledger in those things which affect me and in those things I observe, I am hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow.

[]

And I realized that the time had come for me to avow my participation in that America in which I chose to live, and that that country was not a schoolroom teaching values, but a marketplace.

"Aha," you will say, and you are right. I began reading not only the economics of Thomas Sowell (our greatest contemporary philosopher) but Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, and Shelby Steele, and a host of conservative writers, and found that I agreed with them: a free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism.

Well ain't that grand? For a real chuckle, after you have read Mamet's piece, stroll through the combox and note the outraged reactions from liberals who use the same shopworn and stale arguments Mamet has just demolished. You have to wonder: as the Democratic party's arteries harden ever further, as their candidates' grow increasingly shrill over over which one is the more racist, which one can propose higher taxes, which one despises our military more, will we not see more liberals of Mamet's intellectual caliber pausing to take a good hard look at their life-long and cherished ideologies and find them wanting? Let us hope. In any event, welcome to our shores, Mr. Mamet, delighted to have you (but fuck off, just the same).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Look of "Victimless" Crime


New York Post

Next time you hear some liberal or libertarian twit proclaiming prostitution a "victimless crime," recall this image of Silda Wall Spitzer, the wife of the governor.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Maybe He'll Enter the Rabbinate

Update: the Clinton website was sanitized of the numerous mentions of the Spitzer name within an hour of the story breaking; yep, it's a well-oiled machine.

Update: Spitzer (married, with three children), is a Democratic "superdelegate" who has endorsed Hillary Clinton. It should be fun to see how she handles this, it being an issue with which she actually does have experience.


From the New York Times:
Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring

[New York] Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a person briefed on the federal investigation.

The wiretap recording, made during an investigation of a prostitution ring called Emperors Club VIP, captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a room. The person briefed on the case identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

Funny how people who play fast and loose with other people's lives, as Spitzer did, both as New York's Attorney General and as Governor, so often do the same with their own.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Become more Catholic, or Else...

The New York Sun reports another item on the Pope's agenda for his upcoming visit to America: read the riot act to Catholic educators.

Pope Benedict XVI will use his trip to America next month to present Catholic educators with a powerful challenge, one whose effects could ripple from Notre Dame, Ind., to Tarrytown, N.Y., prominent Vatican watchers are predicting

The expected message: Become more Catholic, or else.

In one of just a few major addresses planned for his six-day visit to America, Pope Benedict is scheduled to speak about education at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., before an audience that should include the president of every Catholic college and university in the country, plus representatives from every archdiocese, which oversee Catholic primary and secondary schools.

[snip]

"Doubtless, I think, there will be a challenge there," the president of Franciscan University in Ohio, Terence Henry, said of Pope Benedict's speech. "He may challenge Catholic universities to get back to the spirit of why they were founded. They were not founded to be another Penn State or another Ohio State."

Judging by the reaction of this fellow, the Holy Father has his work cut out for him.

[Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette University Daniel] Maguire called such colleges attempts by the church's far-right fringe to mimeograph the evangelical Bob Jones University in North Carolina.

If these colleges became the standard, he said, "Catholic universities would then become like a Bob Jones University, where there's only one view tolerated and there's only one debate going on. Issues would be decided by the hierarchy, and you would have to mouth the party line, at which point it really wouldn't be a respectable university at all."

While it is gratifying the Pope is taking on Catholic colleges and universities, with their whackadoodle ideologies and professors, it is even more important the Holy Father address the problems in Catholic elementary and secondary schools. As the left's stranglehold on the American public schools grows tighter and tighter, those schools increasingly become institutions whose only function is to create future wards of the welfare state. If liberal (in the old sense) education is to survive in the United States, the role of religious schools becomes more critical.

Owing to their ubiquity, as well their still being in generally better repair than their public school counterparts, the Catholic schools play an especially vital part in the preservation of civilization as we know it. While they have been subject to the same dumbing down so prevalent in all educational institutions, the damage is not so severe and can still be reversed. If Catholic schools do the job right, their young charges will be sufficiently forearmed against the ideological assaults they will face in college, far less receptive to the corrupting influences of heresy and Marxism. If Catholic schools return to the standards they upheld fifty years ago, the need for the massive overhauling of so many Catholic colleges will be all but obviated, the heretics finding few takers of their wares; a marketplace solution, in a way.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Rasputin

If you'll pardon just a smidgen of gloating, this foolish blogger did insist a few weeks back, contrary to the torrent of obituaries the big guys were pumping out, Hillary Rodham Clinton's march to Washington to claim her White House was hardly finished; that it was folly to count her out. Nope: despite losing eleven primaries in a row and loud infighting among her staff, despite myriad calls from liberal pundits to quit, she hung in there, re-organized and is back, better than ever. And look who's reeling now. From ABC News:

Samantha Power, a senior foreign policy adviser to Sen. Barack Obama, resigned Friday morning after calling Sen. Hillary Clinton a "monster" in an interview with a European newspaper.

"With deep regret, I am resigning from my role as an adviser the Obama campaign effective today," said Power in a statement issued by the Obama campaign. "Last Monday, I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor and purpose of the Obama campaign. And I extend my deepest apologies to Senator Clinton, Senator Obama and the remarkable team I have worked with over these long 14 months."

In a conference call organized by the Clinton campaign (emphasis added), Democratic Reps. Nita Lowey and Gregory Meeks of New York, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, decried the remarks made in The Scotsman by Power, 37, a Pulitzer-Prize winning professor at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.

"This is an important test for Senator Obama, " said Lowey. "It's really a test of character … You really wonder how Sen. Obama can have a person like that, as bright as she might be, advising his campaign."

Wasserman Schultz said Power's comments violated the spirit of the campaign run by Obama, who "has talked about politics of hope throughout," since her description of Clinton in the interview "degenerated into negative personal attacks and name-calling," which Wasserman Schultz called "below the belt" and "out of bounds."

A senior Obama staffer makes a not-terribly-unreasonable accusation of Hillary, considering her and her husband's twenty-five year history of lies, smears and dirty tricks, yet utterly shameless Hillary manages to get the woman fired. Better yet (and this is classic Hillary), she doesn't do it herself, rather others, including members of congress, do it at her behest. Just imagine the myriad late-night phone calls, the hasty script writing and its distribution to the players in order to pull off this performance: doff your hat in admiration of the superb Clinton machine. Do Barack Obama, his naive lieutenants and all those dopey disciples have any idea who and what they are up against?

Recently, Rush Limbaugh, of all people, instructed his so-called "ditto-heads" to cross party lines wherever they could and vote for Hillary in the primaries; the thinking being her scorched-earth tactics to win the nomination will fracture the Democratic party and make it easier for the Republicans to keep the White House. What that tiresome gasbag doesn't get (but she does) is Hillary and Obama are carbon copies politically. Once Obama's been dispatched to Illinois, tail between his legs, the Clinton machine will go into overdrive against the Republicans. Within a few short weeks, Obama's supporters will no longer even remember how to pronounce his name, the man is so easy to forget. John McCain would make mincemeat of him. Against Hillary he will face the toughest political fight of his life.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bernard Nathanson

Dr. Bernard Nathanson is a trooper in the fight against abortion but he certainly did not start out that way. An obstetrician/gynecologist who was, by his own estimation, "responsible for 75,000 abortions," he was a founding member of NARAL and played a leading part in the campaign to legalize abortion, a campaign fraught with lies, which led to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. He began to have doubts about his life's work with the development of ultrasound in the 'seventies and images that put the lie to the claim of pro-abortionists, still made today: that which is evacuated from the mother's womb is a mere "clump of tissue."

Moved by the demonstrators he encountered at abortion clinics, observing their love for the unborn, their mothers and even their executioners, he eventually came around to see abortion for the true evil it is. Since then, Dr. Nathanson has championed the rights of the unborn with the same vigor he used to campaign for their demise. Dr. Nathanson also began to examine his personal life, which was a mess, and over time realized, with the help of an Opus Dei priest, his salvation lay in Jesus Christ. In 1996, this Jewish atheist was baptized and received into the Roman Catholic Church.

I have heard he is in poor health these days and it would be a good thing if we could remember him in our prayers. The prayer that comes to this Anglican's mind, as he nears his own reception into Holy Catholic Church, is the Declaration of Absolution from Book of Common Prayer, said by the priest in the almost unbearably beautiful Order for Daily Evening Prayer.

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live, hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins. He pardoneth and absolveth all those who truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel.

Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Good News for James "Knees" McGreevey, the Ex-Governor of New Jersey...

If your plans for the Episcopal priesthood don't work out, you could have a future in the theater! And in Manhattan, sort of (there will have to be a slight casting change, of course).


Senator Craig of Nebraska is also welcome to audition!