Wednesday, August 31, 2005

American Lamentations

Crushed by wind and wave,
Step by step, through watery tomb,
Past the ruins of home

Excellent Advice!

Bloggers vent a lot of steam. You humble Fool is no exception. The blushing bride praised God almighty for all of the opining I do here. Now, I don't have to talk her ear off! Certain times definately call for a Vescuvius of opining.

Others do not.

Paul of Wizbang identifies the aftermath of Katrina as one of those times where Blog venters need not apply. Instead, he asks for another service that we're surely good at providing: information presentation. Don't take my word for it. Read for yourself:
I fully understand if bloggers were disallowed from complaining about the media and politicians, that modem and broadband sales would suffer double digit sales slumps.... But take a break.

If you think you are more qualified to run the city then the people running it, then by all means when the next election cycle comes around, come on down and throw your hat in the ring. If you think you could have stopped the hurricane if only everyone had listened to you... well I can't help ya.

There'll be plenty of time to show off your 20/20 hindsight next week. For now, accept this for what it is... a natural disaster of biblical proportions.

If you want to do something, quit yer whining and do what blogs and bloggers do best... Use information to change the world.
He's dead on. And how does he know this? Simple: He's survived Katrina:
Think about it for a second from my chair... (I'm not whining but) I'm almost 40 years old.... Here is the sum total of all my worldly possessions: 4 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of blue jeans, a box of family pictures, 2 flashlights, a piece of trench art my grandfather brought back from WWI and my father's hammer. (Hey, it means a lot to me!) That's it. Everything else is gone. And BTW, I'm unemployed.

I tell you that not to whine but to let you see the tree thru the forest. Multiply my situation by about a million. Stop and think about that... A million people homeless and unemployed.
So, what's he asking for? The following, and I'll do my part to help him get those answers, even if all I do is cut-and-paste his other trackbackers! Here goes:
99% of us have no idea how our neighborhoods did. Somebody try to find and compile (reliable) damage reports from specific neighborhoods. Sure it takes some local knowledge, but google maps will fill in the blanks. [Update: The levee broke and the whole damn town flooded so I guess we can check this one off the list.]
Well, some neighborhoods fared better than others. This map might help New Orleaneans like Paul get some idea of how their neighborhoods might be. Times-Peckayune blog has some information. Also, be sure to check this out. (Hat tip to Red Hot Cuppa Politiks)
We don't know how FEMA works. Somebody read the news reports on what FEMA is doing and what it is not... Somebody read their site and distill it for those of us who don't have time for red tape.
Bring it on has the answers:
FEMA: The Disaster Assistance Process for Individuals

For use ONLY by people in designated federal disaster areas.
Be prepared to give your Social Security number, describe your losses, provide financial information, and give directions to the damaged property.
What You Can Do If You're Having Trouble Getting Through
If you get a busy signal, try to call in the evening after 6:00 p.m. or on the weekends when call volumes tend to be lighter.

Tips for Applying for Federal Disaster Assistance

People who lose their jobs due to the disaster may apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) which provides weekly benefits to individuals who are unemployed and not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance compensation. You can call 1-800-621-FEMA (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) or the local unemployment office for information.
Flood insurance? I know the feds handle it. Who do I need to talk to? What do they pay?
From come some answers. If you already have a flood insurance policy, this walks you through filing a claim:
I've been flooded, so what do I do now? Contact your insurance company or agent immediately. They will assign a claims adjuster to help you evaluate your loss and inform you of the steps you need to take to file your claim.

If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims and make payments because of the sheer number of claims submitted.

Let’s take a closer look at the claims process and what you can do to help speed the process along.

Itemizing your possessions:

1. Before flooding occurs, create a "flood file" (a detailed list) of all your possessions. Document possessions within your home or business with a thorough, room-by-room inventory. Describe each item and include serial numbers, model numbers, date of purchase and receipts. Itemize everything—from sofas, chairs and rugs to pictures, plants and contents of drawers and cupboards.
2. Take photos or video to document your possessions and include them in your "flood file" with your itemized list.
3. Safely store your "flood file" (flood insurance policy, itemized list, receipts, video, etc.) in a place secure from loss away from the property you're insuring; typically a safe deposit box.

Contacting your agent or insurance company:

1. If you've been flooded, contact your agent or insurance company immediately. Have the following ready:
* The name of your insurance company
* Your policy number
* A telephone and/or email address where you can be reached
2. Let your agent know where you can be reached at all times. If you're in a shelter or cannot be easily reached, provide your agent with a trusted point-of-contact (friend, relative) who can reach you if necessary

Making a claim
After you have contacted your agent:

1. Separate damaged from undamaged items. Do not throw out damaged property before your adjuster has seen it, unless it may be a health hazard or could impede local cleanup. If objects must be discarded, take photos and keep samples (fabric swatches, pieces of furniture, etc.) to help substantiate your claim.
2. Review your policy. Flood insurance covers buildings and/or contents for residential and non-residential properties. It’s important to know what your policy covers.

To claim personal property loss you must have contents coverage. Use this list for general guidance:

What's covered:
* The insured building—
* Built-in appliances and central air
* Permanently installed paneling, wallpaper, cabinets and carpets
* Garage (up to 10 percent of total building coverage)
* Limited coverage for basements
* Debris removal
* Contents, if contents coverage has been purchased

What's not covered:
* Vehicles
* Decks
* Land and fences
* Plants
* Animals
* Currency
* Boats
* Swimming pools
3. Take photos of standing water, both outside and inside your home or business. Photograph and videotape everything—from structural damage and flood water levels on building exteriors to building interiors and contents—to help prepare documentation of what the flooding damaged.
4. Make a list of all damaged or lost items. Work with your adjuster to itemize your claim and calculate the value of the items destroyed by applying your detailed inventory against your damaged or lost property.
5. Obtain a repair estimate from your adjuster. You should both come to an agreement about the scope of damage—determine what needs to be repaired or replaced.
6. File a Proof of Loss within 60 days of the flood. This sworn statement, made by you, is the valuation of claimed damages. It substantiates the insurance claim and is required before the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or WYO can make payment. Your adjuster should provide the form for you. However, it is your responsibility to provide your insurance company with a signed Proof of Loss within 60-days of the date of loss.
7. Understand the process. Ask detailed questions and manage your claim so that you receive your insurance benefits in a timely manner.
8. If an adjuster has not been assigned to you within a few days of your phone call, contact your insurance agent or company again.

And remember: to stay covered, you must renew your policy each year.
This is what FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program policies cover and pay:
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is your primary source for flood insurance in the U.S. The often catastrophic nature of flooding has kept most insurers from writing flood coverage. The NFIP was established to help licensed agents and insurance companies provide affordable flood insurance to homeowners and businesses.

Whether your property is in a low- to moderate-risk or high-risk flood area, it can be insured with the NFIP Flood Insurance Policy, if it is located in a community that participates in the NFIP.

The Standard Flood Insurance Policy Forms
The NFIP offers three Standard Flood Insurance Policy Forms. The policy type is determined by how a building is occupied. The three policy forms are:

* The Dwelling Form insures residential structures and/or contents and individual residential condominium units.
* The General Property Form insures residential buildings of more than four families as well as non-residential buildings (schools, churches, businesses, etc.).
* The Residential Condominium Building Association Policy Form (RCBAP) insures associations under the condominium form of ownership.

Residential insurance for one- to four-family unit buildings and individual residential condominium units are written under the Dwelling Form and are eligible for up to $250,000 in building coverage and up to $100,000 on personal property coverage. On average, a homeowner policy costs about $400 a year for around $100,000 of coverage.

Residential buildings containing more than four units are written under the General Property Form and are eligible for up to $250,000 in building coverage and up to $100,000 on personal property.

Residential insurance may be purchased for building only, contents only or a combination of the two. Download Flood Quick Quote: Residential [PDF 26KB] Text version. [7KB] to help you approximate the cost of coverage.

Non-Residential insurance—for properties like schools, churches and commercial structures— are written under the General Property Form and are eligible for building coverage up to $500,000 and $500,000 on personal property.

Like insurance for residential properties, coverage may be purchased for building only, contents only or a combination of these. To help estimate your cost of coverage, download Flood Quick Quote: Non-Residential [PDF 26KB] Text version. [7KB]

Condominium associations are written under the Residential Condominium Building Association Policy—or RCBAP—Form and are eligible for building coverage, which includes all units within the building (and improvements), up to $250,000 times the number of units within the residential building. Personal property coverage is limited to $100,000 per building.

The Preferred Risk Policy is a lower-cost option, for building and contents coverage on properties located in a low- to moderate-risk area. It is available for both residential and non-residential properties.

Regardless of which policy you choose, there is a standard 30-day waiting period, from date of purchase, before a new flood policy goes into effect. However, if your lender requires flood insurance in connection with the making, increasing, extending or renewing of your loan, there is no waiting period.

Additional Benefits & Coverage

* Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC)—ICC coverage helps pay for the increased costs to comply with State of Community floodplain management laws or ordinances after a flood, when the building has been declared substantially or repetitively damaged. Coverage can be applied to elevation, relocation, demolition or floodproofing (non-residential only), up to $30,000.
* Debris & Loss Avoidance—the SFIP also provides other types of flood insurance coverage, including debris removal and loss avoidance measures (like the cost of plywood and sandbags).
Every natural disaster I send the Red Cross my standard $100 donation. I have no idea how to get money from them. It is a grant or a loan?
The best way to get that information is to contact the local Red Cross office. For NO, that would be here:
If you require Red Cross emergency assistance, we are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week by calling the Chapter Headquarters toll-free, (800) 229-8191.
If I don't actually cancel my phones and my bill is auto-debit do they still bill me?
Heather Chase of Hurricaid says:
This is considered an interruption of service, and you will not be billed for it. If some idiot makes a mistake and bills you for it, you contact them to resolve it right away.

If I shut off my phone will I lose my number?
Again, Heather says:
Don’t shut off your phone.
Heck- Somebody make an "Evacuee survival guide" with laser precision information on how to get help without clicking 50 links or waiting on hold 2 hours. If you can save 25,000 people 5 hours of looking up the same information, think of the power in that!

The Red Cross comes close. This is their program After a Flood. Their general tips on disaster survival include:
Important Steps for Your Safe and Speedy Recovery

The American Red Cross has prepared this information to encourage you take precautions to help keep you safe and speed your recovery after a disaster. You will also find ideas on what you can do to help make yourself and your home safer from future disasters.*

* If you were affected by a fire in your home, please ask your local Red Cross chapter for the booklet Picking Up the Pieces After a Fire, or visit, for more detailed information specific to recovering from that disaster.

Immediately After-

* Check the area around you for safety. In the case of biological, chemical or radiological threats, listen for instructions on local radio or television stations about safe places to go.
* Have injuries treated by a medical professional. Wash small wounds with soap and water. To help prevent infection of small wounds, use bandages and replace them if they become soiled, damaged or waterlogged.
* Some natural hazards, like severe storms or earthquakes, may recur in the form of new storms or aftershocks over the next several days. Take all safety precautions if the hazard strikes again. For an earthquake aftershock, remember to DROP, COVER and HOLD ON just like you did during the initial earthquake.
* Avoid using the telephone (cellular or landlines) if a large number of homes in your area have been affected by a disaster. Emergency responders need to have the telephone lines available to coordinate their response. During the immediate post- disaster time period, only use the telephone to report life-threatening conditions and call your out-of-town emergency contact.
* Remain calm. Pace yourself. You may find yourself in the position of taking charge of other people. Listen carefully to what people are telling you, and deal patiently with urgent situations first.
* If you had to leave your home, return only when local authorities advise that it is safe to do so. Also, be sure to have photo identification available, because sometimes local authorities will only permit people who own property in a disaster-affected area back into the area.
* Except in extreme emergencies or unless told to do so by emergency officials, avoid driving during the immediate post-disaster period. Keep roads clear for rescue and emergency vehicles. If you must drive, do not drive on roads covered with water. They could be damaged or eroded. Additionally, vehicles can begin to float in as little as six inches of water. Vehicles such as trucks and SUVs have larger tires and are more buoyant. However, even though these vehicles are heavier than a standard sedan, the buoyancy caused by the larger amount of air in their tires actually makes these vehicles more likely to float in water than smaller vehicles.
* If the disaster was widespread, listen to your radio or television station for instructions from local authorities. Information may change rapidly after a widespread disaster, so continue to listen regularly for updates. If the power is still out, listen to a battery- powered radio, television or car radio.
* If the area was flooded and children are present, warn them to stay away from storm drains, culverts and ditches. Children can get caught and injured in these areas.
There's even more good stuff there.
Think of the simple things- Thousands of people lost their glasses. Somebody set up a website where they can coordinate donations of (known) prescription glasses from people who no longer need them. Get a freight company to donate the freight. I bet FedEx will give you an account number that will route all the glasses to some agency in New Orleans.
I'm open to suggestions on how to get something like this off the ground. Any takers?

I hope this humble sampler provides some assistance to Katrina's survivors. If any one else has any leads as to Paul's concerns, as well as others he didn't state but may clearly have, trackback here so we can generate as much information in as few links as possible. Survivors don't have the luxury of blogosphere stalking. They need answers as quickly as possible. So put the football down and get to work!

Katrina coverage around the Blogosphere

Need the latest updates on Katrina?

TTLB's Katrina Community Page.

Technorati's "Hurricane Katrina" tag

The Irish Trojan

NOLA, where NO's own Time-Pecayune

Go there for a start.

TTLB has the "Katrina Blog Relief Day" ready to go

TZ Bear has worked hard to implement Hugh Hewitt and Glenn Reynolds excellent suggestions. He's set up the Katrina Blog Relief Day! Says the Bear:
I'm not in charge of this project. Nobody is. I'm stepping in to provide a way for bloggers to indicate their support for the effort because, well, I can. This is what I can do, and I encourage everyone to think about what they can do to support the goal we all share: to raise as much money and support for relief efforts to aid those effected by Katrina as we possibly can.
Thanks, all. Now let's do some good...
Yes! Let loose the hounds! Communication is what we do! Let's do what we do best for the best of causes! I don't know about the rest of you, but my heart breaks for the loss the New Orleaneans experience. There's so little I can do about it; participating in this is something I can do! We all can!

For the record, I plan to support the charitable work of Catholic Charities. TTLB has a list of several charities that other bloggers have pledged to support. He's also requesting reputable charities be added to the list.

If you haven't already signed up, do so! You'll be glad you did!

The Weekly Darfur: What It Is All About

The Coalition for Darfur has released the weekly post:

What It Is All About

Last weekend, the blog Blue Girl, Red State wrote a post
about a regular blog commenter who went by the name "Shameless Hussy."

Blue Girl reports that "Shameless Hussy" went to Darfur in June as a humanitarian volunteer and was traumatized by what she saw
What she dealt with daily goes beyond the pale...beyond
the nightmares of most people; Children with all four limbs hacked off
right above the knee or below the elbow. Twelve year olds who died in
childbirth after being gang-raped by the Janjaweed. Women who gave
birth to rape-babies who were then cast out by their families for
shaming the family name, leaving only one avenue of survival for
themselves and their children after the camps: Prostitution.

What is f**ing her up is the desperation, and the fact that she worked
herself to death for over a month, and she still didn't really save
anyone. Now that she's gone, it's like she was never there. Even the
ones she helped keep alive, she didn't save. You try dealing with that

And women are the preponderance of victims. Men do not leave the
villages to go to the countryside to gather firewood and other
necessary items of sustenance. Women venture out, even though every
time they leave their villages, they are at horrific risk of being
beaten and raped and disfigured. The reason they go instead of the
men? The women are only attacked, the men are killed.
This post receive a fair amount of attention within the blogosphere (as far as posts about Darfur go) mainly due to the fact
that Kevin Drum linked to it. And while getting bloggers to pay attention to Darfur, if only for a minute, is a minor miracle, it is worth asking
why it takes a post about traumatized aid workers to generate any interest in genocide.

This situation in Darfur has existed for over two years and, if people were interested, they could find accounts of death, disease, rape and
torture occurring there on an almost daily basis. 400,000 people have died and nearly 3 million have been displaced and yet nobody - not politicans, not the media, not bloggers - really seem to care.

To anyone who has been paying attention, the atrocities witnessed by "Shameless Hussy" are, sadly, well-known. If her story generates concern for the people of Darfur, then for that we should be thankful.
And if people who were moved by it are really interested in Darfur,
then they should start reading the analyses produced by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Eric
and the International Crisis Group, supporting organizations like Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, Save Darfur
and STAND, reading blogs like Passion of the Present, Sudan Watch, the Coalition for Darfur, and Sleepless in Sudan and demanding that their elected leaders do something about it.

Our thanks goes out to "Shameless Hussy" and all those who sacrifice to help those in need. But we must keep in mind that Darfur is not about them - it is about this.


My Training today,
Learn with teachers and partners,
Team-teach through the year

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Parents' Aching Vigil

Waiting for the Call
Frankie, tired, sick stomach,
Where is the Doctor?

The Drowning of the Big Easy

It's heartbreaking. The Irish Trojan's blog - Brendan Loy's homepage--has updates--more bad than good.:
Very bad news from WWL-TV:

6:41 P.M. - Efforts to stop the levee break at the 17th Street Canal have ended unsuccessfully and the water is expected to soon overwhelm the pumps in that area, allowing water to pour into the east bank of Metairie and Orleans to an expected height of 12-15 feet.

Essentially, everything that is below sea level in New Orleans will be submerged. The Gulf of Mexico is slowly but surely reclaiming the Crescent City.
Via Michelle Malkin, who has bad news of her own:

No power.

No drinkable water.

Martial law.

Dead bodies floating in the water.

Prisons, hospitals, the Superdome are being evacuated.

Looting in plain view of the police and the National Guard.

New Orleans councilwoman Jackie Clarkson: "The looting is out of control."

I've now seen two reports that WWL is reporting that a looter shot a police officer in the back of the head. Still waiting for confirmation.

Below the Beltway: "I've always feared what would happen if a major American city simply collapsed. It appears that we are finding out."

And the water is still rising.
Not to mention this

My Tax Dollars At Work (At Last)!

Frankie sits on my lap right now! He just threw up--we think he ate too much at lunch. So, one nap and rapid-climbing of our family room couch later, he, well, you know....

Anyways, the Blushing Bride generously agreed to do some emergancy wash. I'm keeping the Prince happy with our pal Barney! The PBS Kids website is a truly marvelous use of my tax dollars. I mean it! The assortment of sing-a-longs alone is worth it.

Mommy just gave him some water! Oh, boy!

A Catholic Bloggers dream...or nightmare!

Amy Welborn has the details.

About the only way to top this would be to get comments from the Pope himself! Now, how cool would that be?

Well, a blogger can dream, can't he?

The Precious Gift of Freedom.

Sharon Mollerus of Clairity's Place has returned from Rimini. She had attended the CL Conference there. Just from some of the people she quoted, all I can say is, "Whoa!"
The theme of the meeting was: "Freedom is the most precious gift that heaven has bestowed upon men." And my first impression at the meeting is of encountering a free people. A free people is characterized by joy and an "impossible serenity," palpable among the crowds of some half-million individuals who visited during the week.

Julian Carron, the leader of the CL movement, reminded us that we have lost the meaning and even the desire for freedom. In our current mentality, we think that freedom is the ability to escape from the bonds that are fundamental to communal life: marriage, family, friendship.

This 26th year of the movement has seen a steady increase in numbers and exhibits. A free people generates new life with everything they touch. These individuals, couples, priests and consecrated lay people, acknowledge Christ as the meaning of their life, making them free for life, rather than living in fear and escaping into the enslavement of materialism and nihilism.

What they generate is simply amazing. Art, poetry, music, history, education. A proliferation of charitable enterprises both local and missionary. Within a solidarity with others, they lighten the loads of work, handicap, illness, poverty. They build a culture that lifts the spirit and accompanies one through the years of journey to destiny.
Should this Fool begin to consider membership in Communion and Liberation? Ah, the movements of the Spirit, so mysterious and yet so right! I would not have heard of CL were it not for the internet. I would have no idea what it was like were it not for Clarity's Place.

Go read the whole thing. Thank me later.

Godspy notes "The Fight for Truth", by Paul Chu

Right here.

Mr. Chu uses a lot of words to say that walking the walk requires more than just talk and "example." Truth requires a fundamental commitment that results in integrity, the matching our action to our words, our behavior to our ideas. Still, he makes some good points:
Personal certitude, and the witness of example—what the Scholastics called moral truth, the correspondence of our external actions to the truth within. And this is perhaps the thorniest truth of all—for this is where we run the risk of being neither soldiers nor explorers but actors or even play-actors, grimly determined to "set a good example"—more or less what our Lord referred to as "whitened sepulchers." As if truth needed an advertising agency! This perversion of the witness we are supposed to be giving reveals an unnerving vulnerability in us.

Good example is not some kind of promotional campaign. Good example is the natural consequence of good order in the mind and heart. And the commonality between all the sword-swinging and exploring and advertising that we do about truth is revealed as a twofold insecurity.
Integrity is the best witness to the Truth. When we live that "good order in the heart and mind", then our action naturally follows our deeply held beliefs. Such commitment to reality keeps us whole, for when we live in Truth, we live with God, who is Truth!

That part of Mr. Chu's reflection makes sense. This part doesn't:
The truth is not simply going to go away if we stop banging it into people's heads, mauling it over with our grubby little minds, buying (or being) billboards with favorite formulations emblazoned in five-foot-high letters—or simply holding our collective breaths and believing it as hard as we can. Truth is tough; it's much tougher than we are.
He appears to dismiss the efforts of those that proclaim truth as a vain attempt to validate truth. He appears to believe that such spokespersons don't honestly believe that Truth will stand unless they shout it from the rooftops. He wrongly believes, imho, that they're trying to protect God. They're not.

No, what those called to witness to the truth--whom the Church properly calls "prophets"--try to do is protect people. From themselves. For too often, people follow every phantasm of the heart and mind as though it were an incarnation of the gospel. They ignore Christ in their pursuit of Truth! I'm sure we're all painfully aware of what happens when we run away from God in the pursuit of anything. This is what prophets hope to spare people from. That's why they do their song and dance.

When too many people ignore the truth in pursuit of their favorite illusion, society decays. We see it every day. Darfur is ignored while Jennifer Aniston covers the gossip pages. WYD's true story is ignored while dissenters' irrelevent protests carry the coverage. Our society's very language demonstrates the corruption we experience; the phrase "abortion rights" is one sad example. Should those that witness to the Truth not boldly proclaim what they've experienced?

If those lost in the wilderness suddenly encountered help, should they not spread that message to others who are lost? Or should they keep it to themselves?

I certainly respect Mr. Chu's caution regarding our proper reception of Truth. No one is served by self-proclaimed prophets that talk what they can't walk. However, for those that have been convinced of the Truth, to remain silent would be to bury their talent in the ground. The Master will rightly not tolerate such an abuse of his gift. Neither should we.

The Beginnings of Justice in Syria?

So Says this Reuters AlertNet

A pro-Syrian former member of parliament identified as a suspect in the killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri returned to Lebanon on Tuesday to hand himself over to U.N. investigators probing the assassination.

"I will present all the information that I have and I hope that what I have will help the investigation," Nassir Qandil told Reuters after driving back to Lebanon from a family holiday in Syria.

He said he had confidence in the integrity of the U.N. team and that he would meet investigators later in the day.
Al-Hariri utters the usual conspiratorial nonsense as he insists he's innocent. I doubt the Lebanese will see it that way. He's lucky the UN is investigating him; he might actually live to face trial.

Lebanon continues to wipe Syria's boot print off her society and government. A conviction of Al-Hariri would be an important act of closure in this sad chapter of Lebanon's history. Hopefully, Syria gets the message. Stay tuned!

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | More Changes Said Likely to Iraq Charter

Get the story here!

The Iraqi constitution is a done deal. Except it isn't. Iraqi law says the draft document can't be changed. Except it may. The Sunnis, led by "prominent leader" Adnan al-Dulaimi, call for a Sunni Boycott of the constitution referandum on October 15th. They refuse to accept the draft as it is now:
In Baghdad, Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni negotiator, said rumored plans to add a reference to Iraq's Arab League membership would not be enough to overcome Sunni objections.

He said the Sunnis were demanding ``clear wording saying that Iraq is part of the Arab nation'' but the main sticking point ``is federalism,'' which they fear would lead to the breakup of the country.

Al-Mutlaq called on all Iraqi sects and ethnic groups to set aside their differences ``to form an anti-constitution front.''

On Tuesday, hundreds of Sunnis rallied three miles north of Ramadi to denounce the proposed constitution.

Protesters carried portraits of former dictator Saddam Hussein and al-Sadr, who also opposes the draft, along with banners reading ``No to federalism, no to dividing Iraq.''

Sunni Arabs form about 20 percent of Iraq's 27 million people but are the majority in four of the 18 provinces. Under elections rules, a ``no'' vote by a two-thirds majority in any three provinces would defeat the referendum.
Captain Ed believes the Sunnis backed themselves into this corner:
The Kurds and Shiites attempted to compromise with the Sunnis, even going as far as an offer to reinstate the Ba'ath Party, minus any support for Saddam and his propaganda. They offered to postpone any motions for federalism, keeping the concept but not exercising it until the next Assembly could get elected, save for the Kurds' hard-fought autonomy. In return, the Sunnis submitted a new list of demands in the final hours, demonstrating their bad faith and determination to sink any agreement that did not restore them to power.
That may well be the case. The Sunnis appear determined to salvage whatever political power that they can. The terrorists from the domestic side need to keep the Sunnis feeling disenfranchized if they hope to continue their campaigne. Fomenting a full-scale civil war that discourages the US and UK from remaining in Iraq would serve their purposes far too well. With their access to funding from sympathizers across the Arab World and beyond, not to mention the expertise of Ex-Saddamite intelligence and military assets, the Iraqi terrorists could establish a dictatorship in short order. If the Sunnis on the street know this, they don't appear to show it. Yes, there has been fighting between Sunni tribes and Al Zarquowis' terrorists. But has there been clashes among Sunnis themselves? I didn't think so.

If Democracy has any shot at working in Iraq, the Sunnis street needs to be convinced that it's in their best interest to cooperate. If it takes some post-legal changes to the constitution to an admittedly obstinate faction that's shown bad faith, then so be it. If the Sunnis don't step up, the entire future of a constitutional Iraq remains in jeopardy. The Iraqis need to make this happen. The US needs to do whatever she can to see that it does.

the nameless church

Reader Chris Kirk is one of the contributers of the nameless church.

As he notes in an email to me, I blogged about their work here.

They're doing an admirable jop trying to draw attention to the situation in Darfur. Take a look at their most recent offering:
The nameless church is having a dialog discussion on Genocide at the Wounded Bookshop on Friday, August 12th at 7:30 p.m.

Genocide is a plague of our world where an entire ethnic or racial group is systematically exterminated. This has happened many times in the 20th century including the Holocaust of the Jews, in the killing fields of Cambodia in the mid-70s, and Bosnia and Rawanda in the late 90s. But this terrifying mindset still exists and is alive and well in Darfur, Sudan. Despite two years of continuos genocide, news from Darfur is being overshadowed by celebrity trials and an American-centric media circus.
Be sure to check them out!

Michelle Malkin on Katrina's Aftermath in New Orleans

Get it here!

She presents the grim details:
New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin says the city is devastated (via

In a most frightening interview with WWL TV, Mayor C. Ray Nagin gave the worse-case scenario of events that anyone could possibly imagine. In the beginning of the interview, he stated that New Orleans is devastated.

Of most importance is the breach of the levee between Jefferson and Orleans Parish.

“We probably have 80 percent of our city under water with some sections of our city the water is as deep as 20 feet”.

Both airports are underwater

The twin spans are destroyed.

The Yacht club is burned and destroyed.

Mayor Nagin also stated he was not sure of the structural soundness of the highrise. He stated that it is possible that the highrise bridge in east New Orleans could be unstable.

The Mayor also stated that all of Slidell (a city [over] which he has no jurisdiction) is under water. Nagin also stated that there was no clear path in and out of New Orleans, that I-10 is underwater.
She also links to Hurricane Watch, which has heartbreaking photos.

Finally, she says Brendan Loy has the blogosphere's best coverage on Katrina. Of Course, I can't pull up his page since his bandwidth has probably been shattered. The price he pays for being Malkin-lanched, I guess!

Too Little Medicine

Vice grip, bridge of nose
swollen fingers, aches abound,
Rheumatoid's revenge!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Solitude in a Quiet Moment

A feast of silence,
Computer drone and crickets
Make the only sound!

Contemplating the Laundry on "Trying to outrun Lawrence"

There is simply no principled escape from the logic of Lawrence...

Jordan's back! She finds this frightening confirmation of common sense from Jeff Jacoby in
Allen and Pat were lovers, but a Wisconsin statute enacted in 1849 made their sexual relationship a felony. The law was sometimes used to nail predators who had molested children, but using it to prosecute consenting adults -- Allen was 45; Pat, 30 -- was virtually unheard of. That didn't deter Milwaukee County Judge David Hansher, however. Nor did the fact that the couple was genuinely in love and didn't understand why their relationship should be a crime. Allen and Pat didn't "have to be bright," the judge growled from the bench, to know that having sex with each other was wrong.

He threw the book at them: eight years for Allen, five for Pat, to be served in separate maximum-security prisons, 25 miles apart.

If this had happened to a gay couple, the case would have become a cause celebre. Hard time as punishment for a private, consensual, adult relationship? Activists would have been outraged. Editorial pages would have thundered. Politicians would have called for the prosecutor's and judge's heads.

But Allen and Patricia Muth are not gay. They were convicted of incest. Although they didn't meet until Patricia was 18 -- she had been raised from infancy in foster care -- they were brother and sister, children of the same biological parents. They were also strongly attracted to each other, emotionally and physically. And so, disregarding the taboo against incest, they became a couple and had four children.
Lawrence overturned a stupid law. The trouble is it overturned it on a principle that made even sound laws unconstitutional. Again, using the "privacy" and "consenting adults" principles, these sibling lovers should be free. That's the obscenity that SCOTUS has unleashed on our society. Our laws no longer defend common sense because they're founded on uncommon nonsense. Utopian paradises filled with Absolute Individualist Great-I-Ams seeking fulfillment in the One Thing that Matters are simply that--Utopias. And Utopian means nowhere!

Our Robed Masters have insisted upon interpreting our laws on the standards of Nowhere. Thus, Nothing has become against the law. Nothing actually has become the law. May God preserve us from our folly.

Living for Darfur

ProLifeBlogs has the story here.

Here's an excerpt:
A notable contribution from the mainstream media on the Darfur genocide crisis, which has left over two million people homeless, is this article from Time Magazine, Who Speaks For Her? which has reports from women systematically raped by the Janjaweed militia, and also reports on the current situation. In part:

"As children played among spent gun cartridges in the village square, aid workers from World Vision distributed food under the stripped limbs of a baobab tree. "I feel safe now, but what is safe?" asks Amna, one of the nine raped in April. "I have felt safe before." It's an insecurity that will not easily go away. Several of the women are now pregnant, and their children will be lifelong reminders of Darfur's hatreds.
...Humanitarian access has improved and fewer people are dying, but in the vast swaths of land outside the control of either the government or the rebels, lawlessness prevails. Attacks on trucks and aid convoys make roads too dangerous to travel, and the scared and hungry arrive at swollen relief camps daily. Even then, their safety is not ensured. At Kalma, Darfur's largest camp, refugees complain of government harassment, and women who venture beyond in search of firewood and fodder are often raped."

I recommend reading the whole article.The Sudanese government continues to avoid taking responsibility or action to stop the ongoing intimidation and violence.

In response to the crisis there are some with high media profiles who have decided to use their publicity pull to highlight the situation. Actor Don Cheadle, who starred in "Hotel Rwanda", the movie about the 1994 Rwandan genocide, has launched "Live for Darfur". It will be a series of events involving actors, musicians and Nobel Prize winner Elie Weisel. Weisel is a holocaust survivor whose own true story of living through genocide is recorded in his autobiographical novel Night. It's a profoundly spiritual and haunting work.

"Live for Darfur" is in Cheadle's words, a "raindrop approach" which he hopes will become a torrent. Bob Tourtellotte reported on "Live in Darfur" for Reuters on August 25, and the report is now being picked up be other news agencies. From the Reuters report:

"Live For Darfur", a series of events in which celebrities from rock band U2 to Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel dedicate their work toward raising awareness about refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. In September, Cheadle will attend Save Darfur Coalition's "National Day of Action" in Washington, to address the death and disease plaguing Darfur. On the same day, he will participate in a National Leadership Assembly for groups to brief Save Darfur members and others on Sudanese issues.

Cheadle has previously visited Darfur and is now increasing his involvement in bringing the crisis to the wider attention of politicians and the public.
Musicians such as U2 bring credibility to Mr. Cheadle's effort. Perhaps they'll attract that Network TV attention that's been atrociously absent so far.

Check out the entire story. It's worth it!

Mr. Donohue, Stand Your Ground!


I appreciate Mr. Gaynor's motivation. I share his outrage at the abuse of the Eucharist that too many American Bishops appear to endure for the sake of the appearance of "unity" or even civility at the communion rail (even if many Churches don't use one today!) However, Mr. Gaynor fails to understand that it's not the laity's job to supervise the Episopacy in matters of the sacraments. The Church has invested authority in these matters to the Bishops. If subsidiarity is to have any meaning for Catholics, the Catholics must begin applying it at home.

Morever, his call for Mr. Donohue to publically support Mr. Balestrieri and oppose the policy of many U.S. Bishops will not change the abuse that he wants to see ended. The MSM will not report that angle. No, the story will be that a prominent "conservative" Catholic has turned on the Bishops and Church that he and his "right-wing" organization have once championed. Mr. Donohue will be seen as a hypocrite at best and a turncoat at worst. Bishops that may once have trusted the Catholic League will think twice about doing so again, even if the League has a legitimate concern on a future issue. In short, not only will Mr. Donohue's attempt to support Mr. Balestrieri backfire and hurt the Canon lawyer's cause; it will cause a scandal that further eclipses the Catholic Church's witness to the gospel in the U.S.

Mr. Gaynor makes his assessment of Mr. Donohue's need to support Mr. Balestrieri on an erroneous reading of A DECLARATION BY THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR LEGISLATIVE TEXTS:
The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts previously had issued an interpretation of Canon 915 in agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It stated in unambiguous terms:

“Naturally, pastoral prudence would strongly suggest the avoidance of instances of public denial of Holy Communion. Pastors must strive to explain to the concerned faithful the true ecclesial sense of the norm, in such a way that they would be able to understand it or at least respect it. In those situations, however, in which these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible, the minister of Communion must refuse to distribute it to those who are publicly unworthy. They are to do this with extreme charity, and are to look for the opportune moment to explain the reasons that required the refusal. They must, however, do this with firmness, conscious of the value that such signs of strength have for the good of the Church and of souls.”

Responsibility for implementing Canon 915 was delegated to priests (not bishops):

“The discernment of cases in which the faithful who find themselves in the described condition are to be excluded from Eucharistic Communion is the responsibility of the Priest who is responsible for the community. They are to give precise instructions to the deacon or to any extraordinary minister regarding the mode of acting in concrete situations.”

And compliance with Canon 915 is mandatory, not discretionary.

“….the obligation of reiterating this impossibility of admission to the Eucharist is required for genuine pastoral care and for an authentic concern for the well-being of these faithful and of the whole Church, being that it indicates the conditions necessary for the fullness of that conversion to which all are always invited by the Lord….”
In making this claim, however, Mr. Gaynor fails to consider the Canonical dimension of A parish priest. In short, he does not consider the relationship of a priest to his Ordinary; no priest may act out of communion with the Bishop to whom he answers. A priest's authority flows from this communion with his Ordinary:
Can. 519 The parish priest is the proper pastor of the parish entrusted to him. He exercises the pastoral care of the community entrusted to him under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, whose ministry of Christ he is called to share, so that for this community he may carry out the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling with the cooperation of other priests or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of Christ's faithful, in accordance with the law.
Can. 381 ß1 In the diocese entrusted to his care, the diocesan Bishop has all the ordinary, proper and immediate power required for the exercise of his pastoral office, except in those matters which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme or to some other ecclesiastical authority. Can. 391 ß1 The diocesan Bishop governs the particular Church entrusted to him with legislative, executive and judicial power, in accordance with the law.

ß2 The Bishop exercises legislative power himself. He exercises executive power either personally or through Vicars general or episcopal Vicars, in accordance with the law. He exercises judicial power either personally or through a judicial Vicar and judges, in accordance with the law.

Can. 392 ß1 Since the Bishop must defend the unity of the universal Church, he is bound to foster the discipline which is common to the whole Church, and so press for the observance of all ecclesiastical laws.

ß2 He is to ensure that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially concerning the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the cult of the saints, and the administration of goods.
Likewise, the Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses the ecclesial reality of the hierarchy in Holy Orders:
1560 As Christ's vicar, each bishop has the pastoral care of the particular Church entrusted to him, but at the same time he bears collegially with all his brothers in the episcopacy the solicitude for all the Churches: "Though each bishop is the lawful pastor only of the portion of the flock entrusted to his care, as a legitimate successor of the apostles he is, by divine institution and precept, responsible with the other bishops for the apostolic mission of the Church."
1567 "The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is, true to a variety of distinct duties. In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them."51 priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. The promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.
Mr. Gaynor knows this. In this column he wrote for Catholic Online in June 21, 2004, he admits it; well, he admits insofar as the Bishops exercise their authority in communion with the Bishop of Rome:
On June 18, 2004, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declared that decisions on giving or denying "Holy Communion to some Catholics in political life" "rest with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles." In support, they stated simply that "[b]ishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action."

The bishops do have individual authority to determine prudent pastoral action, but that does not absolve them of their sacred duty to uphold and to apply canon law and to follow the Pope. The authority of the bishops "must be exercised in communion with the whole Church under the guidance of the Pope" (The Cathecism of the Catholic Church, Section 895). The bishops have "no authority unless united with the [Pope], Peter's successor, as its head" (Cathecism 883).
No one denies that the Bishops are to act in communion with the Pope of Rome. More than a few laity may believe that far too many American Bishops do not. Frankly, I have my own doubts as to how in communion certain Bishops are. However, Mr. Gaynor is proposing a solution to this problem that has no basis in either the teachings of the Church, Scripture and Tradition, or Canon Law. In effect, he wants prominent lay persons such as Mssr. Donohue and Balestrieri to form a "magisterium of the laity" that will put pressure on the Bishops to keep them in communion with the Pope.

This is a clear overstepping of roles within the Church. Like it or not, the laity do not possess the authority to govern. We can't offer fraternal correction to Episcopates because we do not belong to the Episcopal college. Christ willed his Church to be governed by his apostles and their successors. Like them or not, today's Bishops are those successors. They will be the ones that offer correction. If the Holy See determines that American Bishops have failed to enforce Canon 915 appropriately, then the Pope and the Curia are the ones responsible for correcting the erring Bishops. The Laity may appeal to the Prefects of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and Sacraments and Worship. They may appeal first to the Papal Nuncio for the United States. Ultimately, however, enforcement of Canon Law and Doctrine remain in the hands of the Episcopate and the Holy See.

Therefore, embarrassing the Bishops accomplishes nothing. If they're expected by the laity to seriously correct each others errors, they're less likely to do it this same laity expose them to public ridicule and shame. They'll circle the wagons and watch each other's backs until the heat dies down. Mr. Donohue has been around long enough, and understands the Faith well enough, to know this. For whatever reason, Mr. Gaynor does not accept this. Unfortunately, he's likely to reap the harvest of unintended consequences should prominent Catholic lay persons flock to his banner. What could he expect? He's advocating a breach of subsidiarity within the Body of Christ!

I'm not saying Mr. Gaynor is wrong for criticizing the Bishops. That's not the issue here. Mr. Gaynor advocates a course of action from a prominent lay person in order to achieve a specific end. He believes his desired course of action rests on sound moral, canonical and catechetical principles. He may hold the moral high ground. He definately lacks the canonical and catechetical foundation. Morever, his approach will run aground on human nature and the clear ecclesially dominant position that Bishops hold. Therefore his advocacy fails in all the ways such advocacy matters. Bottom line: his plan won't work. Abuse of the eucharist will not stop.

I say it again: Hold your ground, Mr. Donohue. You've done the right thing. Continue to do so!

Fair and Balanced MSM opinion on Roberts (Yeah, right!)

Well, Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times tries to be fair in this column, published in The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA. I suppose he succeeds...from a Reasonable point of view.

Mr. Rutten starts with the Mercutio gambit; you know, "A pox on both your houses!" He lambasts both sides for their alleged hypocrisy in addressing Roberts' Roman Catholicism as an issue in the Judge's nomination:
On the right are various evangelical activists and cultural conservatives who insist that any objection to Roberts' confirmation or mention of his Roman Catholicism amounts to religious bigotry and the imposition of a constitutionally prohibited ``re- ligious test'' for office. On the other side are various left-wing special-interest groups who seem to be arguing that his faith precludes any independent thought on his part.

Both views have been given free access to the chat shows and op-ed pages, and both are pernicious nonsense. The evangelical activists and their GOP fellow travelers have presided over the virtual sacralization of our politics and are without standing to raise an objection to anyone discussing religion at this point.

Moreover, four of the Democratic senators most likely to question Roberts closely when he appears before the Judiciary Committee - Edward Kennedy, Joseph Biden Jr., Patrick Leahy and Richard Durbin - are Roman Catholics.

As far as the left-wing critics go, is it really their position that the three Catholics already on the court - Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy - always vote in unison? Obviously not, so what is this really about? In fact, what precisely is it that Catholicism is supposed to predict in judicial behavior?

William Brennan Jr., the lion of the Warren Court, was a Roman Catholic, but so was Roger Taney, who as chief justice wrote the most abominable decision ever handed down by the court in the Dred Scott case.
Set aside for a moment Mr. Rutten's ridiculous assumption that somehow Roman Catholics can't be anti-Catholic. Doesn't he strike anyone else as being a tad hard on the political right AKA the religious right? Since when can US politics, or anyone else's, undergo a sacrialization? Is there some sacred character to American Democracy in action that I'm missing? Or is he trying to say, once again, that religion has no place in politics? Either way, his criticism of the political right falls like a brickbat compared to his left-wing chastisement. There, he only questions the logic, not the integrity, of their ignorant political calculus.

So much for the Mercutio Gambit as a legitimate attempt at fairness. He does better, however, when he actually analyzes why bringing up Judge Roberts' faith is a non-starter. First of all, he wisely asks what aspect of his faith is a reliable predicator of his judicial performance:
In reporting the contents of the most recently released cache of documents from the young Roberts' service as a legal adviser to President Reagan, The Washington Post recently chose to emphasize his opposition to legally expanding women's rights. At one point, the Post noted, Roberts wrote a memo wondering ``whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good.'' The phrase, ``common good,'' is a bedrock fixture of Catholic social thinking. So, is the sentiment an expression of his religious faith?

By contrast, Los Angeles Times reporters looked at the same memoranda and felt they portrayed Roberts as a remarkably steadfast opponent of commercializing or in any way cheapening the presidency, even when the pressure to do so came from Reagan's friends. At one point, Roberts urged deletion from a campaign speech a line that called the United States ``the greatest nation God ever created.''

The young lawyer dryly noted, ``According to Genesis, God creates things like the heavens and the earth, and the birds and the fishes, but not nations.'' In our piety-besotted times, that common sense seems a breath of fresh air. Was it a consequence of his Catholic faith?
Having put that tired dog to bed, he then explores the question few other commentators outside the blogosphere have bothered to ask:
Can such a question be answered precisely, even in our own era? Not unless it takes into account the church's recognition that application of its moral teachings entails nuance and latitude. In the matter of Roberts' nomination, for example, the relevant point is not what the Catholic Church teaches about abortion - we all know that - or anything else, for that matter, but how it urges its members to apply the principle.
Then he gets Foolish! He references Professor Bainbridge:
University of California, Los Angeles law professor Stephen Bainbridge, who writes about Catholic social thought with great precision, recently noted that the Vatican document most relevant to Roberts' candidacy is its ``Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life.'' On both political and judicial issues, Bainbridge wrote at www.professorbainbridge .com, ``the Church distinguishes between formal and material cooperation with evil.''

Formal cooperation, as the doctrinal note defines it, occurs when a person ``gives consent to the evil action of another (the actor). Here, the cooperator shares the same intention as the actor.''

Material cooperation occurs when ``a cooperator performs an action that itself is not evil, but in so doing helps the actor perform another evil action. The moral quality of material cooperation depends upon how close the act of the cooperator is to the evil action, and whether there is a proportionate reason for performing the action.''

About a year ago, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, elaborated on the note by writing, ``When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.''

As Bainbridge - whose personal politics are conservative, generally Republican - wrote, ``Judicial decision making, even with respect to issues like abortion and euthanasia that raise moral questions under Church teaching, does not per se constitute formal cooperation with evil.''

The relevant and permissible questions to be asked of Roberts, Bainbridge convincingly argues, have to do with his judicial philosophy. His convictions regarding theology or his relationship with the Catholic Church are outside the reach and, frankly, the competence of the U.S. Senate and the overwhelming majority of media commentators, right and left.
Well, following the media's penchant for oversimplification, Mr. Ruttin paraphrases where he should quote. "Cause the truth ain't that simple! In actuality, Professor Bainbridge had this point to make regarding Judge Robert's judicial philosophy--and any relevence his Faith has to it:
...where a Catholic judge believes his participation in a particular case would constitute formal cooperation with evil, the judge should recuse himself. The possibility that a judge (or justice) might have to recuse himself in occasional cases, however, does not strike me as a legitimate reason to deny the judge a seat on the bench.

If I were a senator, I would therefore confine my questions to Judge Roberts about his faith to the following:

1. Do you believe that a judge should recuse himself if his participation in a particular case would constitute formal cooperation with evil?
2. Would you recuse yourself under such circumstances?

I'm inclined to think that one should not ask Judge Roberts whether he believes reviewing death penalty, abortion or euthanasia cases would constitute formal cooperation with evil. Even hot button constitutional issues are often highly fact specific. It would be unfair and unworkable to ask a judge to prejudge every possible variant of every issue that might come up in a long career. Indeed, given Judge Roberts' youth and the ever-evolving complexity of society, he is likely to face moral issues during his tenure on the court that are not on anybody's radar screen today. What matters is the general principle.
Still, I give Mr. Ruttin his due. He cited Bainbridge period. Thus, this column on Judge Roberts rates as one of the most fair ones I've seen from Reasonable MSM. I won't gloat over the foam-swallowing the newsroom editors had to do in order clear it for publication. I won't!

Su, yeah. MSM actually deals a fair story. That MSM's idea of fairness is still lob-sided in favor of Reasonable policy-chasers and pundits is a post for another time!

Katrina Strikes the Big Easy

My Way News has the story from AP. The details:
Hurricane Katrina plowed into this below-sea-level city Monday with howling, 145-mph winds and blinding rain that flooded some homes to the ceilings and ripped away part of the roof of the Superdome, where thousands of people had taken shelter.

Katrina weakened overnight to a Category 4 storm and turned slightly eastward before hitting land about 6:10 a.m. CDT east of Grand Isle near the bayou town of Buras, providing some hope that this vulnerable city would be spared the storm's full fury.

But National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield warned that New Orleans would be pounded throughout the day and that Katrina's potential 15-foot storm surge, down from a feared 28 feet, was still substantial enough to cause extensive flooding.

"I'm not doing too good right now," Chris Robinson said via cellphone from his home east of the city's downtown. "The water's rising pretty fast. I got a hammer and an ax and a crowbar, but I'm holding off on breaking through the roof until the last minute. Tell someone to come get me please. I want to live."

Along the Gulf Coast, the storm hurled boats onto land in Mississippi, lashed street lamps and flooded roads in Alabama, and swamped highway bridges and knocked out power to 28,000 people in the Florida Panhandle. New Orleans, which was in particular peril because it is so low-lying, was ordered evacuated over the weekend, and an estimated 80 percent of its 480,000 residents complied.

At the Superdome, home to 9,000 storm refugees, wind peeled pieces of metal from the golden roof, leaving two holes that let water drip in. People inside were moved out of the way.

Others stayed and watched as sheets of metal flapped and rumbled loudly. From the floor, looking up more than 19 stories, it appeared to be openings of about six feet long. Outside, one of the 10-foot, concrete clock pylons set up around the Superdome blew over.

"The Superdome is not in any dangerous situation," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said.

Scores of windows were blown out at some of New Orleans' hotels. At the Windsor Court Hotel, guests were told to go into the interior hallways with blankets and pillows and to keep the doors closed to the rooms to avoid flying glass.

At 10 a.m. EDT, Katrina was centered about 30 miles southeast of New Orleans. That put the western eye wall with some of the fiercest weather over New Orleans. The storms winds dropped to 135 mph as it pushed inland, threatening the Gulf Coast and the Tennessee Valley with as much as 15 inches of rain over the next couple of days and up to 8 inches in the drought-stricken Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes.

Katrina was a terrifying, 175-mph Category 5 behemoth - the most powerful category on the scale - before weakening.

Mayfield said at midmorning the worst flooding from storm surge was on the Mississippi coast, east of the eye, with the highest storm surge recorded so far at 22 feet in Bay St. Louis.

Along U.S. 90 in Mississippi, the major coastal route that is home to the state's casinos, sailboats were washed onto the four-lane highway.

"This is a devastating hit - we've got boats that have gone into buildings," Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said as he maneuvered around downed trees in the city. "What you're looking at is Camille II."
Please keep all New Orleanders, and other victims of Katrina's fury, in your prayers. May God in his infinite mercy care for all caught in the midst of the storm. May his compassion comfort all afflicted by the hurricane.

Pope Benedict XVI's"Opinion" on Ecumenicism

"Opinion" is not in scare quotes. No, it's in quotes because the Pope himself has said the word. Zenit News Agency highlights his address in Cologne on August 19, 2005 After addressing the common roots of all Christians in the worship of Christ, he makes the following point:
It is the Lord's commandment, but also the imperative of the present hour, to carry on dialogue with conviction at all levels of the Church's life. This must obviously take place with sincerity and realism, with patience and perseverance, in complete fidelity to the dictates of one's conscience in the awareness that it is the Lord who gives unity, that we do not create it, that it is he who gives it but that we must go to meet him.

I do not intend here to outline a program for the immediate themes of dialogue -- this task belongs to theologians working alongside the bishops: the theologians, on the basis of their knowledge of the problem; the bishops from their knowledge of the concrete situation in the Church in our country and in the world.

May I make a small comment: now, it is said that following the clarification regarding the doctrine of justification, the elaboration of ecclesiological issues and the questions concerning ministry are the main obstacles still to be overcome. In short, this is true, but I must also say that I dislike this terminology, which from a certain point of view delimits the problem since it seems that we must now debate about institutions instead of the Word of God, as though we had to place our institutions in the center and fight for them. I think that in this way the ecclesiological issue as well as that of the "Ministerium" are not dealt with correctly.

The real question is the presence of the Word in the world. In the second century the early Church primarily took a threefold decision: first, to establish the canon, thereby stressing the sovereignty of the Word and explaining that not only is the Old Testament "hai graphai," but together with the New Testament constitutes a single Scripture which is thus for us the master text.

However, at the same time the Church has formulated an apostolic succession, the episcopal ministry, in the awareness that the Word and the witness go together; that is, the Word is alive and present only thanks to the witness, so to speak, and receives from the witness its interpretation. But the witness is only such if he or she witnesses to the Word.

Third and last, the Church has added the "regula fidei" as a key for interpretation. I believe that this reciprocal compenetration constitutes an object of dissent between us, even though we are certainly united on fundamental things.

Therefore, when we speak of ecclesiology and of ministry we must preferably speak in this combination of Word, witness and rule of faith, and consider it as an ecclesiological matter, and therefore together as a question of the Word of God, of his sovereignty and humility inasmuch as the Lord entrusts his Word, and concedes its interpretation, to witnesses which, however, must always be compared to the "regula fidei" and the integrity of the Word. Excuse me if I have expressed a personal opinion; it seemed right to do so.
(emphasis mine)
First, it's important to note the context of the Pope's comments as well as his own choice of language. He delivers an address to various Christian representatives while visiting the Archbishop of Cologne's residence. He also states that he offers his "personal opinion" regarding ecumenicism. Finally, he declares that he will not outline a program for dialogue while giving this address; he leaves that to "theologians working alongside the bishops." Any Catholic or Protestant Christian that looks to this address for a definitive and authoritative Catholic position on ecumenical dialogue will remain wanting. However, the Pope's "personal opinion", particularly given the theological experience of this pontiff, carries it's own weight when addressing matter of Faith. Therefore, wise Fools would do well to pay attention.

Pope Benedict's diagnosis of the ecumenical "facts on the ground", between the Church and signatories of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (1999) offers an interpretative breakthrough. He's essentially calling for both parties to avoid the trap of jockying for their ecclesial "turf". Instead, he seeks to foster a deeper understanding of the context in which the Church and other Christians live their institutional ecclesiology. That context can be nothing less than the Word of God and our response as Christians. Seen in this light, Catholics and Protestant Christians can see clearly the divisions between us in terms of how each of us relate to the Word of God. We can see how these divisions of relation manifest themselves in our differences of ecclesiology. When we've done this, then we can fruitfully address our differences. A unity that results from this effort is a unity rooted in the truth of who we are as Christians. It therefore lasts.

Those involved in ecumenical dialogue--on both sides of the Tiber--would benefit from keeping this paradigm in mind when they address ecumenical issues. Too often, dialogue has meant, for the Catholic side, a blurring or outright repudiation of the Catholi Church's historical claims of Faith. This breach of integrity can't establish the unity of Christians that offers an unblemished witness to Christ in the world. It's not founded on the truth; it won't last. Pope Benedict XVI, in this address, rightly decries such misguided efforts at "dialogue" (scare quotes for this word intended):
We all know there are numerous models of unity and you know that the Catholic Church also has as her goal the full visible unity of the disciples of Christ, as defined by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in its various Documents (cf. "Lumen Gentium," Nos. 8, 13; "Unitatis Redintegratio," Nos. 2, 4, etc.). This unity, we are convinced, indeed subsists in the Catholic Church, without the possibility of ever being lost (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," No. 4); the Church in fact has not totally disappeared from the world.

On the other hand, this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one's own faith history. Absolutely not!
Unity is a gift of the Lord, who is Truth and Love. We Christians shattered this unity, and we must work to receive it by making ourselves ready. We prepare best when we accept the truth of where we stand as Christians. Realizing that we have organized our ecclesial identities around the Word of God and our response to it witnesses to this truth. Our dialogue should proceed from this understanding.

Otherwise, we risk builing a new tower of Babel. The world needs a better witness of Christ than that!

Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate on "Walking Across America To Save The Unborn"

Jay Anderson of Pro Ecclesia notes an organization that promotes Walking Across America To Save The Unborn. Check it out!

Why do They Continue to forget Subsidiarity

This appears to be a feel-good piece. A long-time associate director of Catholic Social Services in Kentucky ascends to the top post. Bill Jones enjoys the support of the local Bishop as well as his predecessor. Everybody seems happy. Except me. That's because buried in the story is this:
One of the things he will be communicating is what he calls one of the best kept secrets in America - Catholic social teaching.

[Bill Jones] listed the seven points that should guide the church in any planning or teaching:

The sanctity of all life.

Preferential options for the poor.

The call of every human being to participate in that community.

The right to fair and meaningful work and a just wage.

Everybody has responsibilities to their community.

Solidarity - wherever we live, whatever country or society, we are each other's brothers and sisters.

Stewardship for God's creation.

"Putting all those things together should guide all of the decisions we make as Christians, as business people, as parents, as teachers," he said.
Why does a proponent of Catholic Social Teaching once again forget a crucial principle of this teaching? Why can't we all agree that subsidiarity belongs there?

Look what a simple search for CST reveals:

Human Dignity

* " The human being is single, unique, and unrepeatable, someone thought of and chosen from eternity, someone called and identified by name"
Pope John Paul II
Christmas Message, 25 December 1978

* "The dignity of the person is manifested in all its radiance when the person's origin and destiny are considered: created by God in his image and likeness as well as redeemed by the most precious blood of Christ, the person is called to be a child in the Son and a living temple of the Spirit, destined for the eternal life of blessed communion with God. For this reason every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offense against the Creator of the individual."
Pope John Paul II
Christifideles Laici

* "By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being. This saving event reveals to humanity not only the boundless love of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3:16), but also the incomparable value of every human person."
Pope John Paul II
Gospel of Life

Common Good

* "The common good comprises the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily" (Gaudium et Spes 26 1).

* The common good consists of three essential elements: respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace and security of the group and of its members.

* "The dignity of the human person requires the pursuit of the common good. Everyone should be concerned to create and support institutions that improve the conditions of human life."
Catechism of the Catholic Church


* "The "principle of subsidiarity" must be respected: "A community of a higher order should not interfere with the life of a community of a lower order, taking over its functions." In case of need it should, rather, support the smaller community and help to coordinate its activity with activities in the rest of society for the sake of the common good."
Pope John Paul II
Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum

* The rights of the family are not simply the sum total of the rights of the person, since the family is much more than the sum of its individual members. Whenever the family is self-sufficient, it should be left to act on its own; an excessive intrusiveness on the part of the State would prove detrimental and would constitute an open violation of the rights of the family. Only in those situations where the family is not really self-sufficient does the State have the authority and duty to intervene."
Pope John Paul II
Letter to Families


* "Solidarity is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all."
Pope John Paul II
On Social Concerns
Is it so difficult to acknowledge this? I don't understand it! When we ignore any of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, we distort that teaching. That means we distort Christ's word to those of us that have a stake in society. CST provides the founding principles of a just social order. We ignore it at our peril!

Subsidiarity ensures that communities of a lower order have the independence they require to exercise the local control they're best suited for. It also ensures them the support from higher orders of communities should they require it. Without this principle, the regretable political tendency to centralize power and control in a federal level og government upends this sensible order of authority. The result is decisions by the postal service in Washington, D.C. to redistribute mail from one side of Rockland County, NY to another through a distribution center on the other side of the Tappan Zee Bridge! Other decisions become even more of a burden for the local community!

Witness to all of Catholic Social Teaching! Please!

TTLB Blues

I have enough vanity without posting about it. However, wild-west rise-and-falls have plagues blogs across the TTLB Ecosystem, as you can see here! I was a wee confused at my own plummet. Turns out I'm among the lucky ones! After all, I only dropped from being a "Large Mammal" with a max rank of 471 to a "Marauding Marsupial" hovering at 2027.

Well, fear not, good and vain bloggers such as yours truly. TZ Bear has an answer!

Once more, I'll check my ego at the door and hold fast!

2-year-old Warrior

Says, "I don't love you"
angry eyes and pouting lips
Frankie wants his way

Friday, August 26, 2005

Solar Victor!

Radiant green leaves,
Quiver in the passing breeze,
Summer's last fire!

A Time of Celebration Draws Near!

The Blushing Bride celebrates her birthday tomorrow. (Don't ask! I'm not saying. I like sleeping inddors!) Soon, we'll be off to enjoy a one-night weekend away. Grandma feels well enough to watch Frankie. So we'll be off. Soon.

Posting will be non-existent until Monday, as we'll most likely lounge at a beach somewhere on the 'Jersey Shore. I intent to take this Sunday off. Part of the new tradition, in case you hadn't heard. Day of rest, and all that.

One more Haiku for the road. Then, I'll see you all Monday!

"Magisterium? We don't need no stinkin' Magisterium!"

So goes the attitude of too many Foolable Catholics. Like this.

Note the convenient catch-phrases in this blogger's excerpt from a recent U.S. Catholic story by Mark Graceffo:
If we wouldn’t invite speakers who contest our [Church] leadership’s instructions on other moral issues [such as abortion — Ed.], why do so when it comes to war? Why aren’t our schools instead paying tribute to peace activists, conscientious objectors, or other emissaries of nonviolence and hope?

It’s time for Catholic school educators to shelve the jingoism and begin ensuring that our children are conversant in Catholic social teaching…

As parents, educators, and church leaders, it behooves us to consider carefully the messages we’re giving our children about war and patriotism. By extolling the actions of our military in Iraq, we negate our teaching on the sanctity of human life and love of neighbor. War is granted our implicit approval.
Mr. Graceffo writes with the passion of the convicted. He equates war--unqualified, but presumably the Iraq War based on the context--with abortion as a "violation of the sanctity of life."

He abhors the inconsistency of Catholic school educators inconsistently upholding this sanctity of life through their differentiations of abortion and the war. He might have a case...

Except that the Catholic Church has made no authoritative declarations that the Iraq War is morally unjustified, and therefore as immoral as abortion. Don't take my word for it. Ask Jimmy Akin:
I'm quite happy to explain the Church's just war teaching, and in fact I have done so on numerous occasions. But when it comes to applying those criteria to particular conflicts, who says that I have any obligation to tell people what to think about a particular war when even JPII and B16 have not (despite what you may have heard) chosen to make authoritative statements on the subject and bind the consciences of the faithful?
Addresses, press releases, quotes to reporters and speeches to Vatican officials like the Diplomatic Corps. do not typically carry the authority of the Pope to bind the conscience of the Faithful. Again, ask Jimmy:
If the pope really wants to say something in an authoritative way, he says it in a document of a higher order, like a motu proprio, an encyclical, or an apostolic constitution (the last being the most authoritative)
Mr. Graceffo either knows this or doesn't. If he doesn't it, he's uninformed and passing his ignorance on to his readers. If he does, he's deliberately distorting the Catholic Church's position on the Iraq War to make a shrill political point. Either way, he does not exercise the prudent responsibility to communicate Truth that journalists are called to do. Especially Catholic journalists, presuming Mr. Graceffo is.

Until the Church makes an authoritative judgement on it, no Catholic can in good conscience appeal to the Church to support a moral equivelancy between the Iraq War and abortion.

I respect those Catholics and other Fools that question the casus belli and ius en bellum of the US vis a vis the Iraq War. I don't suffer Foolables that look to justify their doubts by saying, "The Church agrees with me; the war's immoral." The former and current Pope believed that it was. However, neither Pope has used his authority to make that conclusion binding on the Faithful.

Therefore, Catholics and other Fools can disagree. I respect that, as well.

I appreciate those Foolables that have legitimate disagreements over the War. But I have a simple message for them: Just stop trying to be your own magisterium, please. You stand on your own opinion or you don't. You have no right to insist that your deeply held pacifism is the only legitimate moral position on war.

And you have no right to condemn our veterans for obeying the just orders of their Commander-In-Chief in a time of war!

That attempt at protest will earn you nothing but my contempt. Mr. Graceffo has lowered himself to the level of those Vietnam war protesters who spit upon returning veterans and called them "baby killers!" He has no right to imply that to do otherwise is un-Catholic. The sooner he grows up, the better off his readers will be.

Being! Or Nothingness on "The Meeting"...

...of CL's annual meeting in Rimini, Italy, that is.

BON links to the might John Allen, Jr.'s latest Word from Rome for the details. Check it out!

Positive Protestant Witness

A Penitent Blogger discovers a Protestant "Popewatch."

He notes good news:
He["Mark D. Roberts, Senior Pastor at Irvine Presbyterian Church in California"] is particularly enthusiastic about a quote from the Pope's welcoming address (even superimposing the quote on a picture in a nifty graphic at right).

"This is a phenomenal sentence: beautiful, true, and worthy of regular citation. I'm impressed here, not only with Benedict's theological insight, but also with his poetic ability."
The Fools that laugh together stay together. Protestants and Catholics may rejoice in Christ. We may debate with one another to what extent we're in communion with him. Only the most insane of either of our respective camps, however, would deny we're in communion with him period.

In these times when all orthodox Christians face the growing scorn of our Reasonable elites, we can find greater confidence and solidarity with each other as Fools for Christ. Yes, our unity must rest on truth, and the truth is there is much we over which we disagree. That doesn't stop us from recognizing our mutual brotherhood in Christ. It certainly won't stop our Reasonable Masters from throwing all of us "fundamentalists in concentration camps." Ask Phil Mitchell, former professor of history at the University of Colorado, home of the Reasonable Ward Churchill. One of Mr. Mitchell's former collegues shared that heart-warming assertion with him, knowing that Mitchell was a Christian. Any bets that Reasonable folks like that won't see all Fools as "fundamentalists?"

We face a society in which the wisdom of that eminent foolish sage, Benjamin Franklin, is once again appropriate: We must hang together or we will all hang separately.

Never Let Reality Get in the Way of the Agenda!

Senate Still Poised to Vote on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding, according to Lifesite.

The Reasonable have spoken. Progress on ASCR is irrelevent. It's not about curing disease or saving lives. It's about promoting the Agenda. It's about the ka-ching! for the ICF and pro-abortion industry. It's about statism for social engineering. This is what matters. How else can a Fool explain this?
Despite continued successes using adult stem cells and new researching showing embryonic-like stem cells can be obtained without destroying human life, the U.S. Senate is still planning a September vote on overturning President Bush's limits on using taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research.

The House has already approved a bill that would overturn the limits and supporters of the Senate version say they have enough votes to pass it there. They may have enough support to override a veto the president has threatened, but the House is nowhere close to being able to override it.

That, and the new research, has prompted some pro-life lawmakers to ask Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who recently flip-flopped on the issue to support federal funding, to put off the vote.

"We should not rush this debate," Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, told the Associated Press. "If we do not rush to kill innocent human life, we will find ethical, moral ways of solving this issue."

But Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who is one of the co-sponsors of the bill to overturn Bush's limits, says the new research is not enough to dispense with his bill.

"We are right where we always were," Harkin said.
That's because the new research does nothing to protect the sacred rites to Moloch. It doesn't gurantee the free pursuit of the One Thing that Matters. Foolishness, like the belief that embryos are human beings--even if embryology establishes this, can't be allowed to interfere! Only the Agenda matters.

We fools need to laugh louder. Then, we need to get the phone calls and emails going. Most important of all, we better get off our rumps and evangelize! Onle a culture of Life will support ASCR with the kind of consistency that saves lives. Time to get moving!