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.