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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good God, We Wouldn't Want to Offend Them

Christopher Johnson of the MCJ reports the unsurprising news that at the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church, among the many resolutions to be introduced and passed, effectively transforming that institution into a branch of the Unitarian-Universalists, is one

[C]hanging all references from “missionary” to “mission partner” in recognition of “the reality that when we engage in work overseas, we are learning just as much from those we encounter as we are able to teach.”

Emphasizing “the reciprocal nature of mission work in the Anglican Communion today,” the report notes that the historical understanding of the term “missionaries” has caused tensions “with our brothers and sisters around the globe.”
I can certainly understand. Even the word itself, "missionary," must cause unbearable embarrassment to those good and sensitive Episcopalians who wouldn't dream of imposing their constructed faith system on an indigenous person of a different culture.

The Episcopalians, thus, have come a long way indeed from this grand hymn, found in the 1940 Hymnal.
From Greenland’s icy mountains, from India’s coral strand;
Where Afric’s sunny fountains roll down their golden sand:
From many an ancient river, from many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver their land from error’s chain.

What though the spicy breezes blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle;
Though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile?
In vain with lavish kindness the gifts of God are strown;
The heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and stone.

Shall we, whose souls are lighted with wisdom from on high,
Shall we to those benighted the lamp of life deny?
Salvation! O salvation! The joyful sound proclaim,
Till earth’s remotest nation has learned Messiah’s Name.

Waft, waft, ye winds, His story, and you, ye waters, roll
Till, like a sea of glory, it spreads from pole to pole:
Till o’er our ransomed nature the Lamb for sinners slain,
Redeemer, King, Creator, in bliss returns to reign.
Those words must seem as strange to Episcopalians today as the missionaries of yore must have seemed to the heathens they sought to convert. Many of the heathen, however, were persuaded to be baptized. I wonder how much success those "mission partners" will enjoy.

Suspension of Disbelief

When phony-baloney Rolex watches began appearing on the sidewalks of New York in the late 1980s, the peddlers of the things seemed to have all learned from the same script; touting the things, usually priced between $5 to $10, as the genuine article and when asked by incredulous, if gullible, customers how they could be so cheap, replying in the few words of English they knew, sotto voce: "Maybe stolen?"

They weren't, of course, merely cheap and nasty knockoffs from China, bought from jobbers on the Lower East Side for a couple of bucks apiece. The sidewalk watch salesmen knew, however, merely hinting the shoddy "Rolex" watches they hawked might be hot would blind many potential dupes to their obvious shortcomings and they would fork over their cash. (I will confess, it was heaps o' fun standing back a few feet and watching those swindlers operate.)

So it is, on a much grander scale, with the gullible souls who lost their fortunes to Bernard Madoff. The New York Times has a sob story today about some of those victims and their unhappiness with Irving H. Picard,
the court-appointed trustee charged with gathering what is left of Mr. Madoff’s assets, [accusing him] of flouting the laws by not honoring their claims with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which insures customers when brokerage firms fail.
In other words, the dupes want compensation (from us, the taxpayers) for their investments that went up in smoke. It is an absurd request; they had ample reasons to avoid Madoff like the plague but chose not to.

Madoff's fund claimed to make money year after year, in good markets and bad, contrary to any other fund on Wall Street. Shouldn't those investors have been just a teensy bit suspicious of that? Madoff was tight-lipped on his investment strategy and entrusted oversight of his billion dollar operation to a two-bit upstate New York shopping mall accountant. Might that have raised eyebrows of some of his investors? There were murmurings for years Madoff was a slippery character, not to be trusted. Did no alarm bells go off in the heads of those investors, who surely must have heard at least some of those reports and could have done a little digging?

Most of Madoff's investors were not widows and orphans, innocent to the wicked ways of Wall Street, rather people or institutions of means who craved even more means. The attitude was: "I don't want to know how he makes his money so long as he makes me money." That is precisely what the scammer counts on in a potential mark: suspension of disbelief made possible by a larcenous or greedy nature. While we must be sorrowful for those many poor souls who lost everything they had to Bernard Madoff, we must also be mindful that they, ultimately, bear the blame for not asking themselves every now and then if it all seemed too good to be true.

(h/t For What It's Worth)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Best Run-On Sentence and Headline I've Seen in a While

(From here)

Protesters from '68 Democratic National Convention gather in Chicago to protest police reunion to celebrate those who thumped protesters 41 years ago and probably wouldn't mind doing it again if those balding hippies get too close



Thank you sir! May I have another?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pork, Swine Flu, It's All the Same to Dodd

From Now! Hampshire:
Yesterday, with great fanfare, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) announced that a Connecticut-based company named Protein Sciences Corporation had been awarded a $34.5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with the potential of it being extended to five years at a total cost of $147 million to produce influenza vaccines.

*****

Dodd’s press release says, “I am pleased that the Department of Health and Human Services has finalized their contract with Protein Sciences Corporation. This major investment in a Connecticut company by the Federal government will create jobs and protect the public health.”
What Dodd doesn’t mention is that a company with serious financial liabilities may represent a huge risk to the American people if it proves incapable of producing a viable flu vaccine. This is not the first time Dodd has been at the helm of a ship pointed in the wrong direction.
No kidding. You have to wonder if there is some congenital defect in Dodd that makes it impossible for him to act ethically.

(h/t Instapundit)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Like Falling Off a Log

Since, as predicted, Mr. Hope and Change has sided with the corrupt and entrenched thug-leadership of Iran rather than with those who yearn to breathe free, now is the time for all good lefties to come to the aid of their party and commence the trashing of the Iranian freedom fighters. I suggest the they enlist the aid of Michael Moore: anybody who would portray Saddam Hussein's reign of terror in Iraq as an era of peace, prosperity and children flying kites before the American tanks rolled in should have no trouble at all depicting those believing in freedom of speech, equal rights for women, due process--that sort of thing--as fascist reactionaries.

UPDATE: The president addressed the Iran uprising at a press conference this morning, with a statement that began
I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs. But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.

The Iranian people are trying to have a debate about their future. Some in the Iranian government are trying to avoid that debate by accusing the United States and others outside of Iran of instigating protests over the elections. These accusations are patently false and absurd. They are an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly taking place within Iran’s borders. This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won’t work anymore in Iran. This is not about the United States and the West; this is about the people of Iran, and the future that they – and only they – will choose.
My translation: "If the legitimate government of Iran would have the simple decency to crush this rebellion swiftly and discretely it will have nothing to fear from the United States and business may continue as usual."

I wonder what President's backup plan is, however, if the Iranian government is brought down.

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Extraordinary Evening



The Solemn Pontifical Mass (extraordinary form) I attended this past Friday was quite an event, extraordinary you might say; I wonder if I will ever witness its like again.

The setting was stupendous, the opulent Church of St. Jean-Baptiste on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (pictures courtesy the Society of St. Hugh of Cluney; many more on their website). I attempted counting the number of sacred ministers and servers as they processed and came up with 28. The mass setting was by Ockeghem Josquin (what was I thinking?), works by by Palestrina, Byrd, Victoria and, of course, chant; organ music by Butxtehude and Alain. All were performed beautifully by the choir and organist, who played on a superb sounding instrument. Truly unforgettable.



The pontiff making it all pontifical was Bishop Fernando Arêas Rifan of Campos, Brazil, Apostolic Administrator of the Priestly Union of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, a strong advocate of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. From the pulpit he pontificated (I assume that's what a pontiff does) not only on the occasion of the mass, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, but also on the extraordinary form itself and why it is so vital to Holy Church: without even considering its beauty and majesty, it serves as a redoubt against error and misinterpretation. I can concur with that: even in my short tenure as a Catholic I have witnessed sufficient "creative" Novus Ordo masses to last a lifetime.




*****

As I was coming down the steps of St. Jean-Baptiste after the mass, a well-dressed, clean-cut fellow was handing out copies of a letter addressed to Archbishop Dolan that urged him to establish a parish following "the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite as contemplated by Summorum Pontificuam." The man was asking people to sign the letter and mail it to the outfit responsible for it, which in turn would bundle the whole lot and send them to the Archbishop.

I took a copy and may well sign and mail it as requested. Still, I cannot help having reservations about this project. Much as I love the extraordinary form and much as I should love to see it returned to everyday use, I am also mindful it attracts, to be tactful about it, extraordinary types (I remember their analogues in Anglo-Catholic sacristies), whose life's purpose, it seems, is knowing every jot and tittle concerning its celebration and pouncing like panthers on those they perceive as erring, no matter how inadvertently. Make no mistake, we want and need people like them, they who exercise diligence over our Holy Mass, but just imagine the lot of a priest assigned to a parish where only the extraordinary form were celebrated; he would be living under a microscope, the poor unfortunate. Far more advisable, I think it, to bring the extraordinary form back to all parishes.

Our Future Leaders

If you ever wonder why the vast majority of college students supported (if not actually bothered to vote for) Barack Obama, the following story from today's New York Post may offer a clue.
Cops in Washington Square Park have put the kibosh on a crack-addled con man's new twist to a classic scam, police said.

Joseph Bacon, 45, was busted after duping at least eight NYU students with the crack-pipe version of the "dropped glasses" bit -- in which he'd bump into strangers, tell them they broke his gear and demand payment, cops said.

In each case, he allegedly convinced victims to go to an ATM and give him anywhere from $20 to $60 to replace his "broken" crack pipe.

Bacon was busted June 15 and picked out of two lineups by shakedown victims. He has been charged with two counts of robbery.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Looking Forward to This

Solemn Pontifical Mass celebrated by Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan of the Apostolic Administration of St. John Mary Vianney. Church of St. Jean Baptiste, Fr. Anthony Schueller, SSS, Pastor, 184 East 76th Street, New York, NY, 7 P.M.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dazed and Confused

There is a dust-up about a crony of the President, an ex-NBA star and now the mayor of Sacramento, who was discovered to be into the AmeriCorps organization for about a million bucks. A deal was made with the miscreant in which he would pay back half of the filched funds but only if he could find the money and only if he bloody well felt like it. A member of the independent Inspectors General, whose job it is is to look into these things, Gerald Walpin, cried foul at this cozy arrangement and was fired for his trouble by the President.

Unfortunately for the White House, the press is giving the matter far more attention than they had reckoned (though you can hardly blame the White House for their mistaken assumption) so major spinning has commenced. Earlier this week Norman Eisen, the White House Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform released a statement that claimed that at an earlier AmeriCorps board meeting, Mr. Walpin, 73, "was confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions and exhibited other behavior that led the board to question his capacity to serve." That in turn led to the President losing confidence in Walpin, hence his firing. So says Mr. Eisen.

Well then. Let me first state I know several people who work for the government and to a man and woman they are conscientious, hard working and deliver value to the taxpayers for their efforts. I should also add Inspector General Walpin's health and mind seem to be in fine repair and that he is more than up to the job. However, let us also stipulate that for most Americans, a member of the White House staff stating with a straight face a federal employee was actually fired because he "was confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions" not only borders on the comical but is deeply and comfortably ensconced in the lame. The White House will have to do a lot better than that if they want this nasty little problem to go away. So far, though, that's their story and they're sticking to it.

If there is a bright side to the farrago it is that I am presented, yet again, with an opportunity to quote from the funniest play ever to run on Broadway, the British import Beyond the Fringe; this time the skit of a coal miner who wistfully laments he would rather have been a judge (with emphasis added by your humble editor):
Yes, I could have been a judge but I never had the Latin, never had the Latin for the judgin', I never had it, so I'd had it, as far as bein' a judge was concerned. I just never had sufficient of it to get through the rigorous judging exams. They're noted for their rigor. People come out staggering and saying "My God, what a rigorous exam!" - and so I became a miner instead. A coal miner. I managed to get through the mining exams--they're not rigorous, they only ask one question, they say, "Who are you", and I got 75 per cent on that. I'd rather have been a judge than a miner...Being a miner, as soon as you are too old and tired and sick and stupid to do the job properly, you have to go. Well, the very opposite applies with judges. So all in all I’d rather have been a judge than a miner.
Rem acu tetigisti? Assuming most will agree that our sad coal miner's description of judges' job requirements extends to certain others in the public employ, the White House may have a serious credibility problem on its hands.

Monday, June 15, 2009

More of Canterbury's Best Coming Home to Rome

Anglican Convent of All Saints to be Received in Full Communion

I'll bet many of you didn't know there were Anglican nuns but there are indeed and they go back to the nineteenth century, an outgrowth of the Oxford Movement. In addition to the excellent work they do, as Anglo-Catholics (as you might expect) they often are far better respecters and practicers of Catholic tradition than many Catholic orders (see below, now there is a nun).



There are in the State of Maryland, particularly in the Baltimore area, some superb pockets of Anglo-Catholic worship, where the faithful must be feeling rather beleaguered these days. No doubt they are aware of this recent and sad development and, I hope, are taking stock of their situation.

(Thanks to William Tighe)

That's Like So Pre-Recession!

Not so coincidentally with the stock market tanking afresh, comes news tattoo removal is booming, particularly among newly unemployed professionals. Many of them have divined to their sorrow what we of a certain age were taught by our parents years ago: many potential employers will not regard them seriously with their arms (and other body parts) engraved with gaudily colored "art." With the unemployment rate soaring, working-class chic is losing its appeal among the upper classes.

I was obliged to attend a wedding a few years back that took place in a closed and deconsecrated synagogue, fashionably delapitated, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The participants and a good percentage of the guests were what could be described as Williamsburg (Brooklyn) hipster elite. Tattoos were everywhere (on guys, too!). Even the priestess who married the couple (never once using the "G" word) sported a large and spiffily inked bouquet on one of her hefty deltoids. I remember wondering at the time: "How much longer can this go on?" Four years to the month, it turns out.

(h/t For What It's Worth.)

Speaking of Redux

I have a terrible feeling our President will side with the mullahs in the Iran uprising; not actively but by doing nothing via statements urging "restraint on both sides" and similarly wimpy rot. I am hardly the first to note disturbing similarities between him and James Earl Carter.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Voodoo Economics Redux

The reckless fiscal policies of the past have left us in a very deep hole," Obama said last week. "And digging our way out of it will take time, patience and some tough choices."
Apparently, to our President, "digging our way out of it" means digging our way into it, deeper than ever. I can't grasp the logic of that.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sometimes the Facts Alone are Enough

My loyal legion of fans (now almost numbering in the middle-single digits!) have taken me to task for not having a go this past week at the calamity unfolding in Albany, NY, where Republicans in the New York State Senate (whose loathsomeness is only exceed by that of their Democratic counterparts) recently engineered a coup, regaining control of that body after losing it in the last election. The matter is still far from settled, in fact it borders on the chaotic, and the only positive development so far is all legislation in Albany has come to a screeching halt. God can be funny that way.

Much as I should love to add my own special insights to the Albany charade, I am at a loss for the facts cannot be improved upon. Furthermore, those facts are already ably reported by Frederic U. Dicker, Albany beat reporter for the New York Post and one of the best political reporters in the country; were he to work for a newspaper to which the Pulitzer Prize committee were more kindly disposed, he would have long ago won a prize. Fortunately for the rest of us, Dicker doesn't seem to care; he loves his job and seems content to stay with it.

While Mr. Dicker is a thorough professional and takes his work with the utmost seriousness, his bosses down in New York City have an agreeably sophomoric side to them (this is the Post, after all) and it is they no doubt who a couple of days ago sent a clown to the Albany Senate Chamber to add color, tone and visual commentary to the circus atmosphere already prevailing. The clown (wearing blue polka dots and yellow) is seen below standing next to a New York State Senator.

It's a Woman's Privilege to Change Her Mind...

Up to a point.
Cher isn't losing a daughter -- she's gaining a son.

Chastity Bono, 40, the only child of Sonny and Cher, plans to undergo surgery -- to become a man.

"Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity," spokesman Howard Bragman said yesterday.

Chastity Bono came out as a lesbian in 1995.

"I'm sure it hasn't been an easy 40 years . . . in a body that felt totally alien," said Candace Gingrich, an official with the Human Rights Campaign and the daughter of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. (From the New York Post.)
Golly, I hate to be a naysayer but I can't help wonder if gender identity number three will really be the charm for this poor beleaguered soul. And before Chastity/Chaz plunks down a lot of money for a prosthetic device and attendant surgery, (s)he might want pay to heed to the words of this ditty by the Lovin' Spoonful, a '60s phenom that enjoyed success about the same time her/his mommy and daddy did.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why They Despise Her

Since Sarah Palin is back in the news, I think it worth mentioning an incident last fall that went a long way explaining to me the puzzlingly unhinged reactions to her from the left. Shortly after Palin got the VP nod from John McCain, I happened to be visiting two well-off acquaintances who live in a well-to-do area. Both of them are far left politically and were having a grand time trashing Ms. Palin, in the vitriolic manner we saw so much of last fall (and are now seeing again). They were making fun of her accent, her clothes, her makeup and the foibles of her family; dwelling, in fact, more on those than her politics though rest assured they despised those too.

It suddenly dawned on me why these two and so many others, including David Letterman, would lay into Ms. Palin with such venom: because they can. Palin is middle class and Republican and serves as convenient catharsis for the snobby left, which is forbidden to dump on those public figures who, though they may dress, speak and act like churls, are immune to censure because their political viewpoints, no matter how inchoate, are the correct ones. They instead transfer that pent-up snobbery onto Sarah Palin, not only with impunity but to the applause, laughter and cheers of their fellow left-wing elites. Palin is NOCD, trailer trash they can beat up over and over again with no fear of incurring the wrath of PC police. What fun that must be for them.

The Unplumbed Depths of Indency

I'm just trying to imagine the left's response if Rush Limbaugh, say, had made cracks similar to those made by David Letterman on Sarah Palin--looking like a "slutty flight attendant"--and her 14-year old daughter--getting "knocked up" by Alex Rodriguez--about Michelle Obama and her daughters, especially if she had been in town for a conference on autism, as Ms. Palin had been.

It's all of piece, however, for that segment of society whose emotional development ceased at the age of 15, and why we won't hear a peep of protest from the feminist organizations and other leftish cliques.

UPDATE: Dave says it was all a mistake! He wasn't referring to Palins' 14-year old daughter getting knocked up, he was referring to Palin's 18 year old daughter getting knocked up. Thanks for clearing that up, Dave, for a moment there I thought you had lapsed into bad taste. Dave also invited (what a surprise) Palin onto his show. I hope she turns him down, telling him she doesn't intend helping him off the hot seat while at the same boosting his sagging ratings.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Another of Canterbury's Best,


Fr. Jeffrey Steel, is taking the swim.

Ah well, we sent them Fr. Cutié, so I guess we're even.

War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength

Obama economic advisor Austin Goolsbee explaining the unemployment rate's recent jump to 9.4 percent is actually good news (from the corner):
[Goolsbee] says flashes of hope that we are on the verge of a revival have purportedly caused previously uncounted jobless people to seek (but not find) work — that is, they waited out prosperous times, deciding to leap into the job hunt only when hundreds of thousands of heretofore gainfully employed people got pink-slipped and began competing for a declining pool of jobs.
That seems eerily reminiscent of the environmentalists' insistence a few years back that record cold snaps were actually another symptom of "global warming." They flogged that one until reaching the limit of their declining credibility, then resorted to renaming "global warming" to the much more inclusive "climate change."

I imagine the Obama administration and its water carriers in the media will pursue a similar ploy: insisting that the rising unemployment rate is good news until the point is reached, say when the rate reaches ten percent, where credibility is stretched. They will then rummage around for an explanation not quite so contradictory, along the lines, perhaps, that after years of blatant Republican excesses, the economy is at last going through the difficult but necessary process of "right-sizing" itself.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Revisionism

Our President, speaking in Cairo:
It was Islam...that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.
And to think all these years I thought the Holy Catholic Church had something to do with it.

Taking a Hint from Greek Mythology


Procrustes, that is:
The South Carolina funeral board revoked the licenses of an Allendale funeral home and funeral director accused of cutting off the legs of a man too tall for his casket.

*****
According a document released by the South Carolina Department Of Labor and Licensing, a funeral home employee used an electric saw to cut off James Hines’ lower legs so he would fit in a casket that he was too tall for. The body of James Hines was exhumed back in March after investigators acted on a tip that Hines legs were cut off in 2004 when he was buried. The family requested a larger casket because Hines was 6’7” and couldn’t fit in a normal casket.
(h/t For What It's Worth.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Best Take Yet on Our President

...by Fr. Binks (Anglican), a Canadian who takes no prisoners.
Obama is–essentially–a high-school jock cool-kid. Alpha-male head of the clique. If you’re his friend, you rate, you socially exist, you’re cool– if not? You just don’t exist, except as a tool, an object of fun, or a nobody to be nice to when the mood strikes. The Republicans? The formerly cool kids. Critics of Obama, whatever stripe? The nerds, to be mercilessly crushed, mocked, even beaten up if necessary.

Obama does not act like a man almost 50 years old, nor entirely as an adult. He wants what he wants, now. Teen impulsiveness, knowitallism, infinite confidence, and consequence-free. Obama is 17, and America? Why, it’s his high-school.
Read it all and also take in the best compilation out there of good ol' right-wing thought.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Irrefutable Change

From the Telegraph:
In his first official visit to China since becoming Treasury Secretary, Mr Geithner told politicians and academics in Beijing that he still supports a strong US dollar, and insisted that the trillions of dollars of Chinese investments would not be unduly damaged by the economic crisis. Speaking at Peking University, Mr Geithner said: "Chinese assets are very safe."

The comment provoked loud laughter from the audience of students. There are growing fears over the size and sustainability of the US budget deficit, which is set to rise to almost 13pc of GDP this year as the world's biggest economy fights off recession. The US is reliant on China to buy many of the government bonds it is planning to issue but Beijing's policymakers have expressed concern about the strength of the dollar and the value of their investments.
Well gosh, we were promised "hope and change" by our president and while hope is relative, difficult to discern and all that, by gum, we sure got the change. Not since the earliest days of our republic have people in other countries ridiculed our creditworthiness and those that did sure wern't mere undergrads. Quite a change, O great One, and congratulations.

(Thanks to J.S.)

Cars for the People



Now that two of the big-three auto makers are government-run entities, who in his right mind would buy one from them, other than those who also believe the Post Office, Amtrak and Medicare are the ne plus ultra of quality and service? Still, I think those on the left, especially those who squeal like a pig when their patriotism is questioned, should re-assess the cars they drive: is it really correct for them to be driving a Volvo or a Pious Prius when the One is now the CEO of two government and labor-owned car companies? I think not and it behooves all right-thinking Americans to bring this to the attention of our lefty friends who currently don't drive a Chrysler or Government Motors vehicle.