Friday, September 30, 2005

Reasonable Ministers to the Judiciarium Frown on ID in the Classroom

What a surprise! The ACLU strikes out against academic freedom in the name of separating Church and state. The Center for Science and Culture, a division of the Discovery Institute, emailed me the following action alert:
Academic Freedom Under Attack in Letter Seeking to Limit Teaching of Evolution

Letter to governors urges them to outlaw “teaching the controversy”
that clearly exists in science over Darwinian Evolution

SEATTLE - “Once again, academic freedom is under attack and an attempt is being made to censor scientific thought,” Robert Crowther, Director of Communications for the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute said today in response to a letter from the National Center for Science Education and others urging all 50 state governors to restrict teaching the controversies of Darwinian evolution.

“We want students to learn more about evolution, not less, including the evidence for it as well as the scientific evidence against it,” added Crowther.

“Over 400 accredited scientists from renowned universities and National Academies of Science worldwide have signed a statement of dissent against Darwin’s theory of evolution,” continued Crowther. “To try and censor their research and ideas is an outrageous violation of free speech and thought.”

The Scientific Dissent from Darwinism that scientists signed reads: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” It does not advocate any alternative theory.

This issue has been brought to the center of national attention this week as the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District opened in federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Monday. The ACLU is suing the school board of Dover, Pennsylvania for adopting a policy that requires students to listen to a three-paragraph statement about the theory of intelligent design. The ACLU alleges that the Dover policy violates the separation of church and state.

Discovery Institute strongly disputes the ACLU‘s effort to make discussions of intelligent design illegal. At the same time, the Institute opposes on policy grounds the science education policy adopted by the Dover School District. Discovery holds that a curriculum that aims to provide students with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories (rather than teaching an alternative theory, such as intelligent design) represents a common sense approach that all reasonable citizens can agree on.

To speak with a Discovery Institute spokesperson, please contact Kristina Grabosky (703-683-5004 x132) or Robert Crowther (206-292-0401 x107),

For regular news and analysis on the Dover intelligent design trial be sure to visit

Now, I've gone on the record as doubting the wisdom of presenting ID in High School science classrooms. My concern is not about whether or not ID is a trojan horse for bringing religion or creationism into public schools. No, I simply believe that the controversy is too micro an issue to be effectively addressed in a High School biology course. It belongs in higher education, where more mature students can consider the concepts in a more thorough manner. However, my opinion is just one teacher's opinion. Others in my profession may have a fact-based analysis that persuades them to include ID in the classroom. That's fine. After all, what do educators do but determine the most appropriate way to educate those entrusted to them?

That's why I find the ACLU's decision to be such a ridiculous one. An organization that purports to secure peoples' civil liberties will deny educators their fundamental right to academic freedom in the name of a twisted ideology. The "Separation of Church and State" argument could not be a more transparent wolf-in-sheep's-clothing. They want their Reasonable belief in the Absolute Individual passed on in school without any consideration of its appropriateness in a science classroom. They want their metaphysics annointed as science. When others raise legitimate questions concerning the science in which the ACLU conceals their philosophy, that Reasonable organization responds by initiating as frivolous a lawsuit as I can imagine.

Our Reasonable Judiciarium will most likely dance to the ACLU's tune. They should try showing some judicial integrity instead and throw their case the hell out! The ACLU must not be allowed to infringe on the freedom of teachers and their communities to educate their students and children. Let educators and education administrators, in concert with school boards and parents, make the important decisions on what our children learn. Subsidiarity, and human decency, demands no less.

The Paragraph Farmer on "The company you keep"

Patrick O'Hannigan of The Paragraph Farmer reflects on peculiar similarities between the worldview of Reasonable liberal elites and blood-thirsty Islamo-fascists. He notices that determinism undergirds their paradigms:
Carson's summary of the Islamist attitude-- wherein morality is imposed and external-- is a recipe for what Noonan would call increased authority, which automatically means bigger government. In Carson's essay, as in Iran and other Islamist fantasy lands, that means government that functions, or at least claims to function, under sharia law.

Because there is no Muslim majority in the United States, the idea that morality must be imposed leads inexorably to the modern American equivalent of sharia law, that progressive palliative called "rule by the judiciary."

This misreading of the human condition -- and that's precisely what it is -- has theological roots. It assaults human dignity by justifying coercion and rejecting the notion of free will.
Its family tree includes Karl Marx (Fortunately, Groucho and Harpo Marx had a more profound understanding of human nature).

Carson and Noonan would probably agree with the proposition that responsibility rather than authority is the scaffolding on which free, meaning at least potentially moral, choices depend.

It's an oversimplification, to be sure, but a distinctly useful and capital-C Catholic one. Without free will ("freedom to do as we ought"), there is neither virtue nor vice. Robots can't sin.
(emphasis mine)
Isn't it interesting that the equal and opposite manifestations of Nothing center on the same distorted view of the person? Both insist that a strong outside agent determine the thought and behavior of the human person. Thus, both the worshippers of Islamo-fascism and the Dictatorship of Relativism demand from those beyond their ideological borders absolute allegiance to their respective magisteriums. Both effectively deny that people have the capacity, and thus the responsibility, to choose to act in accordance with the Truth.

Meanwhile, Fools insist on taking the Catholic Church's teaching on the free will of the human person seriously. They respect the inherent dignity of the human person and their fundamental right to obey their conscience, even while insisting that this conscience conform with the Truth. Seems the only time I hear Reasonable folk talk about conscience is when they need to defy the Church's opposition to one of their sacred cows. Don't think I've heard any Islamo-fascist use the word conscience at all.

Reducing humanity to objects of others' determination violates their dignity. The Enemy would relish nothing better than the opportunity to commit such violations on us in masse. We should not give him that opportunity. Ever.

Neuhaus and McCarrick on Catholicism and Politics

Pittsburgh Catholic Newspaper has the story here.

They both appear to agree on more than they disagree. For instance:
To begin with, they agreed that separation of church and state does not require people of faith to take their beliefs out of politics. That was never the intention of the founding fathers and, in any case, is simply wrongheaded.

Politics deals with how we should live together and how we can create the best society, they said. Politics searches for the good, the best and the just, making the political inherently moral. And because faith is the surest basis for morality in culture, excluding religion from political debates runs counter to everything that politics is.

Both also agreed that Catholics have a particular witness to give in politics. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops affirmed in “Faithful Citizenship,” last year’s statement on faith and politics, Catholic social teaching is unique in the emphasis it places on respect for life.

Respect for the dignity of the human person obviously involves the issues of abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia. It also encompasses a broader social agenda, including fighting poverty and hunger, providing quality education and health care, protecting family life, seeking peace and human rights, and protecting the environment.
While journalist Craig Maier puts this last sentence in Fr. Neuhaus' mouth as well as Archbishop McCarrick's, he fails to make the distinction I believe both men would make. Opposition to abortion, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia is a more vital struggle than fighting poverty and other social justice issues. Innocent Life is clearly at stake. If that life isn't protected and honored, than the right of the living to enjoy a more prosperous standard of living, and all the rest, certainly won't be guaranteed.

While Catholics agree that "fighting poverty and hunger, providing quality education and health care, protecting family life, seeking peace and human rights, and protecting the environment" is important, many disagree on the best way in which to do so. Unfortunately, many in the social justice wing of the Roman Catholic Church would elevate Welfare Statism, like the kind that threatens Europe's economy, to the status of canonical requirement. In other words, oppose the Democratic party's economic platform, and you're supporting social injustice. This position simply can't be reconciled with Catholic Social Teaching.

Overall, Mr. Maier does a good job in presenting the views of both Neuhaus and McCarrick. I only wish that he could grasp the nuance that both men clearly believe. Isn't it time for the Catholic Church to end her own unique "culture war"? Doesn't the world deserve that?

The Weekly Darfur: Anarchy and the UN

The Coalition for Darfur has released the weekly post. At least one Special Representative from the UN begins to glimps reality there:

As Darfur descends into anarchy, the United Nations appears unable to do any more than express concerns and continue to ask the parties involved to cease their violent attacks.

After rebels attacked and took control of the town of Sheiria last week, the Sudanese army said it was prepared to retake the town, to which the rebels replied that they would "repulse anything from the Sudanese government's army."

The upsurge in violence forced thousands more out of the villages, swelling the ranks of the internally displaced that already numbers nearly 2 million.

As the violence was raging, even the UN's own Special Representative Jan Pronk, a man who tends to see everything in Sudan through rose-colored glasses, was forced to admit that the violence was spiraling out of control. He was joined by the US government, which stated that the "uptick in violence ... is of concern to us" and the UN's genocide advisor, Juan Mendez, who acknowledged that Khartoum had done little to disarm militias or end the "culture of impunity" that exists in Darfur.

Pronk went on to state that the UN must give the Sudanese government and rebels an ultimatum to compel them to reach some sort of peace agreement and even made the startling admission that, thus far, the UN has utterly failed to deal with Darfur
Pronk said that when the Darfur conflict began U.N. humanitarian officials agitated for the Security Council to take up the conflict, which it refused to do.

A "massive force" was needed [in 2003] then to guarantee security but instead several thousand African Union troops and monitors had to carry the burden. And now the council needed to plan for how to keep the peace in case a peace deal was signed.
Pronk was quoted elsewhere as saying
He said the war situation in Sudan was "everybody’s failure" and could have been avoided if the international community had acted quickly.

How could the present day situation have been avoided?

"I think there should have been intervention in 2003," Pronk said, adding that while the occurrence of genocide in the country was debatable, "There was mass slaughter of people. It needed humanitarian intervention."
Of course, the international community did not act quickly, nor are they acting quickly now.

In fact, while Darfur burned, the BBC reported that American and British intelligence officials, along with representatives of the UN, China and 12 African nations were in Khartoum discussing cooperation on counter-terrorism operations in the region.
Hosting the conference is part of a sustained diplomatic push by Sudan to shake off its pariah status ... When the opportunity for this second regional conference on counter-terrorism came up, Sudan competed for the right to host it ... The decision of the CIA to agree to come to Sudan shows the pragmatism of the intelligence community against the continuing political desire of America to punish Sudan for what has happened in Darfur.
Khartoum continues to work to "shake off its pariah status," with Sudanese Ambassador Khidir Haroun Ahmed publishing an op-ed in the Washington Times today claiming that "After two decades of brutal civil war, Sudan is emerging as a reminder that engagement, dialogue and intensive diplomacy can resolve seemingly intractable problems and permit a country to look to the future with optimism."

Meanwhile, the violence and anarchy Khartoum unleashed is now spilling over into neighboring Chad, a country that is already host to an estimated 200,000 refugees from Darfur
A group of unidentified armed men in military uniform crossed into Chad from Sudan early on Monday, killing 36 herders and stealing livestock, the Chadian government said.
The violence, in addition to threatening the people of Darfur, is also threatening the relief work that sustains them, as U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland noted yesterday
"If it (the violence) continues to escalate, we may not be able to sustain our operations for 2.5 million people requiring life-saving assistance," he said, adding: "In Darfur, it (aid distribution) could all end tomorrow. It is as serious as that."
As Eric Reeves never fails to remind us, in December 2004, Egeland warned that 100,000 people could die a month if humanitarian organizations are forced to suspend operations in Darfur.

Despite all of this, Pronk still managed to recently declare that progress was being made on implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and South and on efforts to reach peace in Darfur.

Such a statement is utterly feckless and shameful.

As Gerald Caplan, author of "Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide," wrote last week
But what we are learning from Darfur, which we never remotely imagined, is that even naming a genocide is an utterly inconsequential exercise in hot air ... despite the apparent concern of many western leaders, despite the pressure from elements of civil society, the catastrophe in Darfur is explicitly allowed to continue ... As always, everything takes precedence over the suffering and death of hundreds of thousands of distant, exotic others. It won't be the last time."
After two years, 400,000 deaths, and an estimated 3.5 million now entirely dependent on humanitarian aid, it must be stated that the UN and every one of its member nations have failed the people of Darfur and, in all likelihood, will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunately, the disconnect between the people and their leadership on the issue will ensure that this failure continues. Meanwhile, MSM can't find a reason to provide even seconds of coverage or even a News-brief of space on Darfur. Thus, the determination of the people to see something done in Darfur remains inconsistent. Look for little to change. May God forgive us.


Dark skies at Dawn still,
Shadows of night flee the wave,
Sunlight on the way.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Foreshadowing Autumn

Cascade gold and red,
Autumn sea floats on the wind,
Rainbow on the ground.

A Fools' Victory at Ground Zero

Jordan of Contemplating the Laundry links to this story in the New York Times.

Governor Pataki makes the right decision. He excludes the controversial International Freedom Center from the World Trade Center memorial site:
"The I.F.C. cannot be located on the memorial quadrant," Mr. Pataki said in a statement. That quadrant, at the southwest corner of the trade center site, contains the footprints of the twin towers.

The Freedom Center, picked for the memorial site by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, was envisioned as a living memorial in which the story of Sept. 11, 2001, would be told in the context of the worldwide struggle for freedom through the ages.

Critics said the sacred precinct of the memorial was no place for a lesson in geopolitics or social history, particularly when a separate memorial museum devoted solely to 9/11 was being planned entirely underground, within the trade center foundations.

"There remains too much opposition, too much controversy over the programming of the I.F.C., and we must move forward with our first priority, the creation of an inspiring memorial," the governor said in a statement released at 4:55 p.m.

He said he had instructed the development corporation, which is overseeing the development of the memorial and cultural buildings, to "work with the I.F.C. to explore other locations."

But 42 minutes later, the center said in its own statement that there was no other location to explore, since the memorial quadrant was "the site for which the I.F.C. was created, at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's request, and as an integral part of Daniel Libeskind's master site plan."

"We do not believe there is a viable alternative place for the I.F.C. at the World Trade Center site," said the statement from the center's executives, Tom A. Bernstein, Peter W. Kunhardt and Richard J. Tofel. "We consider our work, therefore, to have been brought to an end."

Debra Burlingame, who led the opposition to the Freedom Center, beginning with an article in The Wall Street Journal, "The Great Ground Zero Heist," on June 9, congratulated Governor Pataki on his decision. Her brother, Charles F. Burlingame III, was the pilot of the airliner that was crashed into the Pentagon.

"The International Freedom Center was an obstacle not simply for the families, the first responders and all those who were personally affected by the events of Sept. 11," Ms. Burlingame said in a telephone interview, "but for all Americans who will be coming to the World Trade Center memorial to hear the story of 9/11 and that story only.

"And I believe that story will be able to convey all the core values that Governor Pataki so eloquently enunciated," Ms. Burlingame said, adding that 9/11 was a story not only of loss but "an uplifting story of decency triumphing over depravity."
Longtime readers may remember my humble contribution to the struggle against the International Freedom Center. Naturally, I'm happy with the governor's decision. The people of New York City, and the nation as a whole, don't need politically correct pontifications delivered on ground made holy by the blood of the innocent. The World Trade Center memorial site should be just that: a memorial for those that we lost on 9/11. America deserves to remember the heroes and victims of our nations worst terrorist attack. We do not need to be told how much we're a part of the problem. No outrage over policy justified murder. Otherwise, why isn't the Black Hand celebrated for their assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his pregnant wife?

Governor Pataki restored to New Yorkers and Americans the right to have the story of 9/11 told honestly, without the ideological baggage that the International Freedom Center imposed on the site. Some may cynically note that Governor Pataki auditions for national office. I don't share that view in this particular case. Governor Pataki shouldered the burden of guiding New York City through 9/11 with Mayor Guiliani. He has an personal investment in the story that the World Trade Center memorial site tells. I believe he wants the site to honor the memory of those America lost on that terrible day. Today, he made the decision that ensures that. He made the right call.

The Reasonable Judiciarium Does it Again!

The Reasonable have spoken. Photos and videos that may incite violence among islamo-fascists and their manipulated marks must be shown. It doesn't matter who dies. We're Foolish to even bring it up.

"Release Abu Ghraib Photos!" The Reasonable Judiciarium command

Adding insult to injury, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein attempts to seize the high ground in the delivery of his travesty of justice:
A federal judge Thursday ordered the release of dozens more pictures of prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib (search), rejecting government arguments that the images would provoke terrorists and incite violence against U.S. troops in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said that terrorists "do not need pretexts for their barbarism" and that suppressing the pictures would amount to submitting to blackmail.

"Our nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear of blackmail is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from performing a statutory command. Indeed, the freedoms that we champion are as important to our success in Iraq and Afghanistan as the guns and missiles with which our troops are armed," he said.

Hellerstein ordered the release of 74 pictures and three videotapes from the Abu Ghraib prison, potentially opening the military up to more embarrassment from a scandal that stirred outrage around the world last year, when photos of the 2003 abuse became public.

Click here to view the judge's Abu Ghraib ruling (pdf).

The photographs covered by Thursday's ruling were taken by a soldier. A military policeman who saw them turned them over to the Army. Some may be duplicates of photos already seen by the public.

An appeal of Hellerstein's ruling is expected, which could delay release of the pictures for months.

Gen. John Abizaid (search), commander of U.S. Central Command, said Thursday that releasing the photos would hinder his work against terrorism.

"When we continue to pick at the wound and show the pictures over and over again it just creates the image — a false image — like this is the sort of stuff that is happening anew, and it's not," Abizaid said.

The American Civil Liberties Union (search) sought release of the photographs and videotapes as part of an October 2003 lawsuit demanding information on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and the transfer of prisoners to countries known to use torture. The ACLU contends that prisoner abuse is systemic.
The photos and video of Abu Ghraib do nothing to foster debate about torture that the Abu Ghraib story itself hasn't already done. The release of these previously withheld media will only radicalize more fence-sitters among the irate muslims throughout the Islamic world. The erroneous Newsweek story about the desecration of the Q'uran caused rioting in Afghanistan that killed 23 people. Imagine how many homicide bombings might occur against US servicemen in Iraq when these controversial photos and video become public. Allowing this puts American soldiers' lives at needless risk.

The ACLU has little interest in the consequence of this action to American soldiers. They have an unprecedented opportunity to embarrass the Bush Administration and further the Agenda that all Reasonable elites believe. Foolish as I am, I'd rather stuff the agenda that has little support from many Americans and save soldiers' lives.

Unfortunatel, the Reasonable Judiciarium don't agree with me. They have spoken.

God have mercy on us all.

ANGEL DRESSED IN BLACK: Maureen Dowd Stumbles in the Dark

Mary of ANGEL DRESSED IN BLACK offers a clear analysis of Maureen Dowd and her Reasonable follies. She even has some sympathy for the increasing desperation of the New York Time's resident screetcher:
Dowd's September 28, 2005, column, "Dancing in the Dark," reads like a plea for help. She's dancing with the grace of a 300+ pound NFL defensive lineman. She's trying to be witty, but her acerbic tone doesn't help to expose some harsh truth about the Bush administration. Instead, her comments come off as silly, rooted in desparation.

It's pathetic.

It's also a mirror image of the state of the Democrats in fall of 2005--not much to offer other than hypocrisy and baseless personal attacks.

Dowd is so sad and bitter. I have to feel sorry for her, in the way that I'd feel sorry for a vulture that broke its wing as it swooped down while hunting a kitten.

Similarly, I have to feel some sympathy for the radical Left. It's not pretty watching them blindly stumble around while their hate consumes them.
Mary then offers up Ms. Dowd's latest--and now subscriber only--unraveling:
I can't wait to see what's next.

Dick Cheney carpooling downtown with Brownie? Rummy Rollerblading down the bike path to the Pentagon? Condi huddling by a Watergate fireplace in a gray cardigan?

Maybe now that our hydrocarbon president is the conservation president, he'll downgrade from Air Force One to a solar-powered Piper Cub as he continues to stalk the Gulf Coast towns and oil rigs like Banquo's ghost.

The once disciplined and swaggering Bush administration has descended into slapstick, more comical even than having Clarence Thomas et al. sit in judgment as Anna Nicole Smith attempts to get more of the moolah of her late oil tycoon husband.

We've got the clownish Brownie still on FEMA's payroll, giving advice on cleaning up the mess he made. ( Let's hope the White House is paying him only long enough to buy his good will, not to take any of his bad advice.)

We've got two oilmen in the White House whose administration was built on urging us to consume and buy as much oil and energy as possible. Now they're suddenly urging us to conserve. (Since Mr. Cheney considers conservation a "personal virtue," at least he'll get some virtue.)

The president called on Americans to drive less, and told his staff members to turn off their computers at night, turn down the air-conditioning, form carpools and take the bus.

At the same time, he set a fine example by wasting gazillions of gallons of fuel with all the planes and Secret Service vans and press motorcades and police escorts that follow him around every time he goes on one of his inane photo-ops from the Colorado bunker to what's left of the Mississippi Delta and the Bayou. He did his part by knocking off a few cars from his motorcade on his seventh trip to the gulf yesterday - but if residents had hoped he'd bring them some water, they went thirsty.
Mary is right: Maureen Dowd's rabid sputtering speaks for itself. She represents well the pathologically deteriorating reason of the Reasonable and Foolable left. Ms. Dowd is so caught up in attempting to sound ironic and clever that she throws herself in knots over the inevitable consequences of a President's proper stewardship. Is the President of the United States supposed to sail to the Gulf Coast? Or should he not be there at all? She's nearly apocleptic over each and every move the President makes.

Now, the President of the United States, like any leader in our government, does not stand above criticism. I've taken him to task in this blog for his uninspiring phone-in during and shortly after Katrina and his timing in launching the invasion of Iraq. However, what many liberals like Ms. Dowd today espouse is anything but legitimate criticism. They pour out only blind hatred and rage that the man dares not bow down before their irrelevant and bankrupt ideology. This irrational hatred reflects more on the haters than on the object of their derision. The Maureen Dowds, Cindy Sheehans and other Reasonable mouth-foamers offer society nothing more than wet carpets. Sooner or later, society will want to clean up the mess. Then, they'll render the ones making the mess utterly irrelevent.

Ms. Dowd may continue her screeds indefinately, or at least until the NY Times can no longer afford her as a luxury. With her now behind the subscriber firewall, perhaps her die-hards will continue to offer her homage. The more sensible among us, however, will tip our hat and say "here's your hat, what's your hurry?"

The Governator follows through and vetoes gay marriage bill

Ahnald! Ahnald! How will you show yourself at all those cocktail parties? How can you look your Hollywood sychophants friends in the eye again, once you leave Sacramento?

Careful, governator, that may be a spine you've begun to grow!

Or it could simply be political opportunism. After all, California conservatives would demand nothing less. Plus, Californians had already approved a referendum banning "gay marriage":
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a widely expected move vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have allowed gay couples to marry.

The Republican governor had earlier this month indicated he would veto the bill passed by California's Democrat-led legislature. The bill was the first of its kind approved by a state legislature.

Schwarzenegger said he would leave the contentious issue of same-sex marriage to voters and the courts. "I do not believe the legislature can reverse an initiative approved by the people of California," he said in a written statement.

"This bill simply adds confusion to a constitutional issue," Schwarzenegger wrote. "If the ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, this bill is not necessary. If the ban is constitutional, this bill is ineffective."
The Governator's reasoning is sound, as far as it goes. Unfortunately, he did not capitalize on an opportunity to lead here. He could have made a stand with Californians that approved the referendum that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. He could have used the veto as an opportunity to send the message that reinterpreting an institution older than civilization to appease the political correctness of an underwhelming minority undermines family and the state. He could have energized the conservatives and rallied them behind him, at least on this issue.

Instead, he punts the decision to the California Courts and the people. Thus, he can shrug his shoulders no matter what happens. He made the safe calculation. It cost him the opportunity to show he truly understands and empathizes with the average Californian. It cost him the opportunity to be a leader. Instead, he's shown that he's simply another politician. Trust the Governator to know which way the wind blows. Don't count on him standing up to it.

Judith Miller Cracks

Her stand for journalistic integrity has come to an end. Ms. Miller of the New York Times bows out.

My Way News has this update here:
After nearly three months in jail, New York Times reporter Judith Miller was released Thursday after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the disclosure of the identity of a covert CIA officer, two people familiar with the case said.

Miller left the federal detention center in Alexandria, Va., after reaching an agreement with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Legal sources said she would appear before a grand jury investigation the case Friday morning. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings.
The non-story of the "exposure" of Valery Plame enters the end-game. Ms. Miller languished in that federal detention center while the nation yawned and moved on. Since Ms. Plame hadn't been under-cover in at least six years, the revelation of her identity technically broke no laws. Ms. Miller locked herself down for her principles. That's an admirable decision, if a somewhat misplaced one.

This fact remains hard to dispute: if Ms. Miller's source possessed valuable information concerning this alleged crime, her refusal to testify at the Grand Jury not only deprived the nation of justice. It also allowed a means to possibly compromise authentic under-cover agents to remain in play. She's fortunate further leaks have not occured. Otherwise, their blood would be on her hands.

Ms. Miller's decision to testify should bring this sorry political circus to an end. Too bad it doesn't do more to edify these embarrassing circumstances.

Roberts is in!

All of the hoopla. All of the gnashing of teeth! All of the protests of "he's dodged the question!" and "How do we know he's in the mainstream?" pale before the political reality. The Reasonable leftists have hijacked the Democratic party will mouth-foam until they shudder. In the end, 78 Senators--including half the Democrats--vote to confirm the Nation's 17th Chief Justice.

My Way News has the story here:

John G. Roberts Jr., a conservative protege of the late William H. Rehnquist, succeeded him Thursday and became the nation's youngest chief justice in two centuries, winning support from more than three-fourths of the Senate after promising he would be no ideologue.

Roberts, at 50, becomes the 17th chief justice, presiding over a Supreme Court that seems as divided as the nation over abortion and other tumultuous social issues. The court opens a new term on Monday.

"The Senate has confirmed a man with an astute mind and kind heart," President Bush said just before Roberts was sworn in by acting Chief Justice John Paul Stevens. "All Americans can be confident that the 17th chief justice of the United States will be prudent in exercising judicial power, firm in defending judicial independence and above all a faithful guardian of the Constitution."

Bush is expected to make his second Supreme Court nomination within days, one that conservatives hope will move the court to the right. Replacing Rehnquist with Roberts keeps the court's current balance, but replacing the moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with a conservative could tilt it rightward.

Roberts called the Senate's 78-22 bipartisan vote for him "confirmation of what is for me a bedrock principle, that judging is different from politics." All of the Senate's 55 Republicans, independent James Jeffords of Vermont and half of the 44 Democrats supported him.

He said he would try to "pass on to my children's generation a charter of self-government as strong and as vibrant as the one that Chief Justice Rehnquist passed on to us."
The Democrats had little choice. Roberts' nomination fills the void left by the death of former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. If they attempted to derail Roberts' nomination, they would in effect be saying that they distrusted the present configuration of the Court. Few thinking people would buy that, which would leave them with only one conclusion: The Democrats would refuse to nominate any of the President's nominees. This type of partisan obfuscation would discredit them in a heartbeat. Burning precious political capital for such little gain would surely sink the party come the interim elections next year. The far left may pour the money into the war chests, but the Democrats require moderates and swing voters if they're to have any chance of taking back both houses of congress. Kiss that goodbye if they come across as lackies for the Michael Moore wing. So, after much posturing and bloviating, the Democrats bite the hand that feeds them and hands the President an important victory.

Time will tell what kind of a Justice Roberts will be. His performance at the Judicial committee hearings demonstrates that he's a brilliant legal thinker that appears devoted to the constitution. He appeared nearly inflappable in the face of mouth-foaming by such Reasonable Democratic senators as Joseph Biden of Delaware and Chuck Schumer of New York. If he remains that cool and principled during his tenure on the Supreme Court, he'll serve the nation well.


Face down the malice,
Enemy taunts before me,
Step into the breach!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Exhaustion marches on

The prowl of spent days,
Weary steps to a night's rest,
Tomorrow comes soon!

The Shallow Well

My exhaustion reaches unprecedented levels. My neglected RA has re-emerged with a vengance. Frankie has just gone back to bed. Again. Oh, and all this happened after my cousin repaired the driver's side front door of my car after work. Seems somebody driving on Williamsbridge Avenue in the Bronx grazed my Subaru.

Needless to say, I'm spent. I thought I'd offer some intriguing commentary on the latest happenings. Failing that, I hoped to offer sincere reflections on matters of the Spirit and Truth. Unfortunately, the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Especially my flesh, right now.

Let me try again tomorrow. Tonight, I can't give my best. In fact, the little I could give would probably drag the quality of work down. Your humble Fool would rather make more substantial contributions.

Let me close now with a shout out to my Yankees for pulling out a clutch win in Baltimore. Last time I checked, Boston was down to Toronto 7-2 in the top of the seventh. Plus, the Indians lost to the Devil Rays.

Let's go Yankees!

And now, adeiu!

Dinner is served

Carlos Rossi Red,
Red pepper, sauted sausage,
Tongue's kaleidescope!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sleepiness, a state of life

A tired retreat
Heavy eyes, aches all over
Time to crawl to bed!

Al Qaeda Staggers in Iraq

"US is logging gains against Al Qaeda in Iraq," sayz the

The details:
n a succession of intelligence breaks, the US says it has killed two key members of Al Qaeda in Iraq in recent days, including the organization's No. 2 man who is suspected of orchestrating a series of suicide bombings in Baghdad since April.

According to American military officials, the US has either made key arrests or developed informants who have led to a cascade of actionable intelligence over the past month. Since the middle of August, the US has reported killing or capturing at least 16 members of Al Qaeda in Iraq, led by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

How big a blow this is to the insurgency in Iraq remains unclear. While US human intelligence has clearly improved, no one has a clear understanding of the internal workings of Mr. Zarqawi's network, which is thought to be only a small portion of Iraq's decentralized and highly complex insurgency.

"By itself these events don't do much to destroy Al Qaeda as much as undermine and undercut it. But this comes after some very successful operations in Tal Afar that wrapped up the Al Qaeda network there,'' says Anthony Cordesman, a former senior intelligence analyst for the US and now an expert on the Iraq insurgency at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The US says it killed the insurgent leader of the town of Karabilah at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and Abdullah Abu Azzam, said to be the Al Qaeda leader (or emir) of Anbar Province, in a raid in Baghdad on Sunday. Meanwhile Gen. Kevin Bergner told reporters that in northern Iraq, where the US recently fought a major engagement in Tal Afar and where major operations have also been carried out in Mosul, the US has made inroads against the organization.

"We are probably at the point of impacting about 80 percent of that network in terms of detaining, capturing, killing the leadership, and disrupting their resources, and disrupting their support bases and neutralizing their capability,'' he said.

An Iraqi government spokesman said Abu Azzam, who's real name is Abdullah Najim Abdullah Mohamed al-Jawari, was an Iraqi. He was on a list of Iraq's 29 most-wanted insurgents issued by the US military in February and had a bounty of $50,000 on his head.

Mr. Cordesman says that Abu Azzam was a major figure in Al Qaeda in Iraq and his death followed recent improvements in US intelligence gathering and targeting of Al Qaeda leaders. But predicting the real dividends is difficult. "We don't know how many leaders there are, how many experienced cadres there are, how many replacements there are," he says.
Hurting Al Qaeda helps the Iraqis. Eliminating intransigent terrorists through effective intelligence and disciplined military engagement helps make Iraqis safer. Not to mention US Servicemen and we Joe-and-Jane Sixpacks. Fools will celebrate the loss of Al Zarqawi's second-in-command.

As the noose tightens, Zarqawi will find less and less able fighters to fill the position of his X-O. This will further disrupt his murderous campaign against Shia and Sunni Iraqis alike. Without his catastrophic influence driving extremists from both sides of the Iraqi Islamic divide to civil war, the cooler heads from both factions may work out an acceptable solution. Time will tell. One thing is certain: anything that complicates Al Zarqawi's life is a good thing! Kudos to the Coalition forces for their successful hunt!

Kung Happy He Met Benedict!

Should I be, too? Or should I be frightened? Expatica's German news in English has the story here

Actually, I'm pleased that Mr. Kung enjoyed his reunion with his former collegue. Pope Benedict XVI acted as a true sheperd and welcomed Kung in imitation of Christ welcoming many sinners and enemies. In fact, I doubt the Pope considers Kung an enemy. Kung certainly doesn't speak of the Pope as one here:
Catholicism's most influential dissident, Hans Kueng, 77, on Tuesday hailed his surprise meeting with Pope Benedict XVI as a sign that the Church is willing to listen to and confront its critics.

The rebel Swiss theologian said Joseph Ratzinger of Germany invited him to dinner Saturday and they chatted for four hours the same way as when they had both been brilliant young theologians at Tuebingen University in Germany.

In an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur in Tuebingen, the priest said he was not seeking a restoration of his 'Missio Canonica' licence to teach theology, which was taken away from him by the Vatican in 1979.

"Even without it I can pursue
a recognized Catholic theology that I do not force on anyone as the only right one," he said.

A Vatican statement said "the meeting unfolded in a friendly atmosphere" while Kueng spoke of his "immense joy" at being able to speak to the head of Catholicism after a wait lasting 25 years.

Kueng said Tuesday he was pleased that media comments on the meeting had not applauded either man at the other's expense.

"This is not a withdrawn pope who looks to the past. He looks at the situation as it is and is capable of listening," Kueng, who only last April had described Joseph Ratzinger's election as "a disappointment" for reformists, told Rome-based daily La Repubblica.
Kueng said he was able to have a constructive discussion at the pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, on two of the issues that most concern him: the relationship between science and religion and the role of the Roman Catholic Church in modern society.

"It is a sign of hope for many Catholics and for many people in the world that two so different people as we are nevertheless agreed on many things with regard to the future of the world," Kueng told the New York Times.

According to Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, "The pope appreciated professor Kueng's effort to contribute to a renewed recognition of the essential values of humanity through the dialogue of religions and the meeting with secular reason."
In other words, any effort to play the Fool before Reasonable men helps bring the kingdom closer to all, and the Pope appreciates that. If Kung has witnessed to the truth in spite of his dissident theology, then every Fool should applaud him for that.

Some may see the meeting as the inevitable capitulation of the Pope before the dying gasp of "Spirit of Vatican II" Ecclesial correctness. You won't find me among them. I see the meeting as one between a Pastor and his charge. Who can tell what good the Lord may draw from such a meeting of minds? Stay tuned!

The Continuing Descent of Darfur

The Seattle Times: Nation & World has this briefing.

The news goes from bad to worse. Still, no one acts. Least of all, the West! Behold the continuing madness:
The U.N. envoy for prevention of genocide warned yesterday that violence is increasing in the wartorn region of Darfur and criticized the Sudanese national courts for doing little to try suspects accused of atrocities.

"The situation in Darfur now is disturbing, violence is spreading, and the displaced don't trust the Sudanese police or the Sudanese judiciary system," Juan Mendez said after his second assessment visit. His first visit was a year ago.

Mendez lashed out at the Sudanese national courts for not doing enough to punish those suspected of involvement in the violence in Darfur. He urged Sudan to cooperate with the international court.
"I tremble for my country when I realize God is just."--Thomas Jefferson. How many more times must we say "Never Again!" before we finally mean it?

New Rite of Moloch-Worship goes Commercial!

Wisconsin Governor offers oblations on behalf of his constiuents! Get the story from Wisconsin State Journal.

Note the new meme. MSM and its Reasonable affiliates now refer to Embryonic Stem-Cell just stem cell research. Yeah, that'll really stop Fools from laughing! At any rate, Governor Doyle has spoken: he'll offer State money to the orginators of ESCR as they go corporate:
Cellular Dynamics International - the young company founded by UW-Madison stem- cell research pioneer Jamie Thomson and his partners - is getting a $2 million jump-start from the state.

Using the announcement Monday as both a political statement and an economic growth message, Gov. Jim Doyle said the state is providing a $1 million grant and a $1 million loan to the Madison company. Coupled with $4 million in private investment, Cellular Dynamics plans to use the technology to screen for drugs for heart patients, starting as soon as early 2006.

"The research happening here will reduce the use of animals in drug testing as well as improve the safety of drugs," Doyle said.

Thomson called the allocation "a very important investment" and predicted that his will be the first stem-cell company to turn a profit.

Support for technology businesses such as Cellular Dynamics is part of Doyle's Grow Wisconsin economic development plan, and he outlined the next phase of it at the morning news conference in Madison.
(emphasis mine)
So the MSM isn't the only ones that chase the ka-ching! factor here! What a surprise. While he's busy padding his constituents, he's also making it easier for people to regard unborn children as a means to their own ends. Thus, the worship of Nothing grows and the Great-I-Am worship of the Reasonables becomes much easier to promote. In fact, so far has the Governor's pursuit of dollar signs gone that he's lost touch with what the evermen of America would consider within the pale:
His monetary award to Cellular Dynamics - which will help the company add 33 employees - is the largest the state has given to any technology startup company, Department of Commerce spokesman Tony Hozeny said. More than just a financial boost, it is a message to the Legislature, with the Senate scheduled to discuss a bill today, passed by the Assembly last spring, that would ban human cloning.

"If it comes to my desk, it will be vetoed," Doyle said, calling the bill an "extreme measure."

Thomson said if the Senate approves the bill, it won't affect his company's operations but it will send a damaging message. "For us to retain and recruit" qualified employees . . . "there has to be the perception that we're supportive of science," Thomson said.
(emphasis mine)
Yeah, that's right. Banning human cloning. How extremist! How narrow-minded! How Foolish! Imagine the audacity of believing that each and every person is a unique and precious gift of God, born with a dignity no one may take away! Why, next thing you know, those Fools will be saying that a man can't be comodified, even if it helps the greater good! The nerve of them.

That a sitting governor calls a bill banning human cloning an "extreme measure" and a scientist-turned-entrepreneur considers the passage of such a bill as being unsupportive of science demonstrates the slope our society faces. We can either keep pouring the grease while saying everything's fine, or we can put the can down and walk away.

How many more innocents have to die before we all finally do the right thing?

How the Church Built Western Civilization

AINA has Zenit's interview with Professor Thomas Woods.

His new book offers a robust defense of the Catholic Church's contribution to Western Civilization. Including her positive relationship to science:
Q: How did it come to be that the Church is considered the enemy of progress, freedom, human rights, science, and just about everything else modernity champions, when in fact your book claims that the Catholic Church is at the origin of these phenomena?

Woods: There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but I'll confine myself to one. It is much easier to propagate historical myth than most people realize.

Take, for instance, the idea -- which we were all taught in school -- that in the Middle Ages everyone thought the world was flat. This, as Jeffrey Burton Russell has shown, is a 19th-century myth that was deliberately concocted to cast the Church in a bad light. It couldn't be further from the truth.

The matter of Galileo, which most people know only in caricature, has fueled some of this fire. But it is both illegitimate and totally misleading to extrapolate from the Galileo case to the broader conclusion that the Church has historically been hostile to science.

It may come as a surprise to some readers, but the good news is that modern scholarship -- say, over the past 50 to 100 years or so -- has gone a long way toward refuting these myths and setting the record straight.

Scarcely any medievalist worth his salt would today repeat the caricatures of the Middle Ages that were once common currency, and mainstream historians of science would now be embarrassed to repeat the old contention that the relationship between religion and science in the West has been a history of unremitting warfare -- as Andrew Dickson White famously contended a century ago.

Q: Can you briefly describe the Church's particular contributions to the origins and development of modern science?

Woods: Let's begin with a few little-known facts. The first person to measure the rate of acceleration of a freely falling body was Father Giambattista Riccioli. Father Nicholas Steno is considered the father of geology. The father of Egyptology was Father Athanasius Kircher, and the man often cited as the father of atomic theory was Father Roger Boscovich.

The Jesuits brought Western science all over the world. In the 20th century they so dominated the study of earthquakes that seismology became known as "the Jesuit science."

Some Catholic cathedrals were built to function as the world's most precise solar observatories, and the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna was used to verify Johannes Kepler's theory of elliptical planetary orbits.

The science chapter of "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization" is by far the longest. In addition to discussing examples like the ones I've just mentioned, it also notes that certain aspects of Catholic teaching -- including the idea of God as orderly and even mathematical, thus making possible the idea of autonomous natural laws -- lent themselves to the development of modern science.
Of course, this won't matter to our Reasonable masters. They won't give up their cherished myths that easily. That would mean admiting the the Foolish Church actually participates in the truth. And, of course, they know how unReasonable such an admission would be. How could they possibly press on and achieve the Agenda with that sort of acknowledgement plagueing their conscience?

The Student-Teacher

One hot cup of joe
He introduces my shadow,
Young hopeful in the game

Monday, September 26, 2005


A sprint through the night
Fingers fly across keyboards
Gather the stories home.

Things Just Work Differently in The Big Easy and Louisiana

OpinionJournal's John Fund notes LA's scary corruption Hat tip to Catholic Analysis.

Here's the quote that I nearly fell out of my chair after reading:
No state turns out better demagogues than Louisiana--the state that Huey Long ruled with an near-fascistic fist and that inspired the new Sean Penn version of "All the King's Men" that hits movie theaters this November. While the Bush administration and Congress aren't in danger of being fried as witches, they better figure out that they and the taxpayers are about to be fleeced like sheep as they ship south $62 billion in emergency aid with few controls or safeguards.
How priceless is that? The rest of the story isn't as funny:
More will be coming. Last week, Louisiana's two senators didn't even blink when they asked the feds for an ultimate total of $250 billion in assistance just for their state. "We recognize that it's a very high number," Sen. Mary Landrieu admitted. "But this is an unprecedented national tragedy and needs an unprecedented national response."

Even if the total ends up far short of that figure, the opportunity for fraud and waste will be unprecedented. "We're getting a lot of calls" on emergency aid abuses, reports Gen. Richard Skinner, the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. Last week, police officers found a treasure trove of food, drinks, chainsaws and roof tarps in the home of Cedric Floyd, chief administrative officer for the Jefferson Parish suburb of Kenner. Mr. Floyd is one of several city workers who will likely be charged with pilfering.

Despite assurances from President Bush, "the government is fighting this war [on waste] with Civil War weapons, and we're just overwhelmed," Joshua Schwartz, co-director of the George Washington University Law School's procurement law program, told Knight Ridder. Democrats are already scoring political points. Rep. David Obey, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, is lamenting the lack of accountability in the aid package. He is calling for "the beginning of some new thinking" on how to handle disaster relief.

Put bluntly, the local political cultures don't engender confidence that aid won't be diverted from the people who truly need and deserve it. While the feds can try to ride herd on the money, here's hoping folks in the region take the opportunity to finally demand their own political housecleaning. Change is past due. Last year, Lou Riegel, the agent in charge of the FBI's New Orleans office, described Louisiana's public corruption as "epidemic, endemic, and entrenched. No branch of government is exempt."

Louisiana ranks third in the nation in the number of elected officials per capita convicted of crimes (Mississippi takes top prize). In just the past generation, the Pelican State has had a governor, an attorney general, three successive insurance commissioners, a congressman, a federal judge, a state Senate president and a swarm of local officials convicted. Last year, three top officials at Louisiana's Office of Emergency Preparedness were indicted on charges they obstructed a probe into how federal money bought out flood-prone homes. Last March the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered Louisiana to repay $30 million in flood-control grants it had awarded to 23 parishes.

Much of the region has long had a relaxed attitude towards corruption. ABC's Cokie Roberts, whose parents, Hale and Lindy Boggs, both represented New Orleans in Congress, was only half-joking when her first suggestion for speeding reconstruction was releasing convicted former governor Edwin Edwards from prison because he "knows how to get things done."
This decadent corruption so violates the people's trust that it's a wonder the residents of NOLA stayed at all. The American people want to see New Orleans and the damaged regions of Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast restored. They don't want to stand naked in the wind while greedy politicians pick their last pocket!

If the government can't make at least a satisfactory effort to make sure the money goes where it's needed, then why is so much going? Sadly, government fund rents a lot of goodwill. The President has taken heat for FEMA's slow and sluggish response to Katrina--rightly, I might add. (Of course, suddenly it's anathema to even imply that NOLA authorities shared any responsibility for their own inadequate response. "Oh, no! Not us," Louisiana and NO's politicians seem to spin, "We just do things differently down in the Big Easy!") While the Federal government should coordinate and provide some relief, it should not be used as an ATM by a president who struggles in the polls.

If NOLA's fat cats practice politics as usual with the money, that's exactly what the President's financial recovery plan will look like. Those that need help the most will once again suffer the most, since they'll be left with little or nothing.

We must not allow that to happen. Insist that your Congressional representatives and Senators hold Louisiana and New Orleans--and everywhere else--responsible for the appropriate expenditure of this Aid. Don't allow Katrina's survivors to become NOLA's latest victims. They deserve better. So do we!

A Penitent Blogger on "The Return of the City"

Penitens over at A Penitent Blogger understands the importance of prayer:
Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
the holy mountain....

They shall be my people,
and I will be their God,
with faithfulness and justice.

This prophecy will be most perfectly realized at the end of time, in the heavenly Jerusalem, but it also can be very relevant for our own spiritual lives today.

In one sense, the city of Jerusalem can be seen as a metaphor for our life of prayer.

Like the ancients, we may have let our internal city fall into decay. The internal city of our prayer life may have grown so weak that it is easily overwhelmed by outside forces that capture our attention and carry our thoughts far away from God.

Indeed, just as in the time of the Babylonian exile, it may have been years since we really, really prayed – with faithfulness and justice – as we were meant to.

Then, when we return to that inner sanctum of prayer, we find little but dust and the shards of past glory.

If we find ourselves in such deserted, devastated place in our life of prayer, we must not despair.

It may seem impossible for us to get back on track, but it is not impossible for God.

If, like the exiles of old, we remain faithful and patient, in his own time the Lord will bring us back, bestowing on us the riches of his grace that will restore our internal cities of prayer to wonderful life.
When I attended a Day by Day Agape weekend as an adult observer, Bob Krug gave a lay witness talk to the teen boys on the weekend. During his wonderful address, he roared these words like thunder upon the hills:
"Never underestimate the power of prayer!"
Unfortunately, I do. Quite often. Too often.

I forget these words. Then, I forget to pray. Then, I face the fear that has stalked me all of my days. I face it alone because I have withdrawn from the One that longs to stand by my side. I look into deep into it, and it stares right back. It's Nothing. I'm afraid of nothing. I fear that my very efforts to lead the life God wants me to live will result in Nothing. I fear my own failure. I fear the continuous dissolution of my days until all I have left are my regrets. And haunted memories. And the shame of what might-have-been.

And the scars of scandal from the sins of my family, ripped into my being by their terrible woundedness.

All this I face when I underestimate the power of prayer.

However, I need not always make that decision.

Indeed, I can recall Mr. Krug's prophecy and place my faith in him to whom I pray. He answers! He stands at my side, ready to fight the abyss that threatens to engulf me. Suddenly, I realize that the seemingly endless darkness of Nothing can't stand the light. He contradicts the absence with his Presence. I can laugh and sing in joy, for my labors will bear fruit because they grow from my faith in him! Failure can't be an option, and therefore I no longer fear it. For he has not come to suggest or ask me not to fear. He commands me, "Be not afraid!" And I don't ever need to be. Ever. Even of my regrets. Even of my missed opportunities and turn-arounds. Even of my faltered steps and misplaced hopes. Even of the scars from sins long since forgiven by people long since healed.

God comes to us when we welcome him. Open your hearts to him, then, you stiff-necked people! Offer him the deepest longings of your heart, and he will give you peace. Pray, and find his life grows within you! Then you may become a sign of his love for us all. Share his light, then, and make his joy--and your own--complete.

Penitens understands that our faith begins and ends in prayer. We should follow his counsel. The Lord awaits us. What are we waiting for?

Cindy Sheehan is at it again.

BAH of A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT has the details. He provides an admirable collection of links to bloggers posting on the latest MSM feeding-frenzy. Hat tip to Mark Shea for the photo.

Among the stories are Ms. Sheehans arrest. CNN provides the required hagiography:
Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who became a leader of the anti-war movement following her son's death in Iraq, was arrested Monday along with dozens of others protesting outside the White House.

Sheehan, carrying a photo of her son in his Army uniform, was among hundreds of protesters who marched around the White House and then down the two-block pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. When they reached the front of the White House, dozens sat down -- knowing they would be arrested -- and began singing and chanting "Stop the war now!"

Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests. One man climbed over the White House fence and was quickly subdued by Secret Service agents.

Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She smiled as she was carried to the curb, then stood up and walked to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching."
Yawn. Didn't this woman have her fifteen minutes of fame? Oh, that's right. Katrina blew in and literally stole her thunder. Suddenly the MSM had real news to report. That damn Ka-ching! factor! Always getting in the way of promoting the Agenda!

Her Reasonable enablers have once again subjected her to needless abuse, in which she seems all too willing to assist them. Her antics simply cause the fair-minded to tune her out. If she's looking to reverse the US' position on the war in order to somehow redeem her son's death, then she's ironically failing to honor him. Her strategy will only succeed in continuing to make her an object of derision.

Somebody talk her down from the bridge before it's too late! Ooops. Too late!

A fair profile of Notre Dame's new president

Jodi Cohen pens it for the Chicago Tribune here. She notes that he appears to be more of an interested introvert rather than an interesting extrovert (with apologies to Selling for Dummies!) Notes Cohen:
Jenkins listens more than he issues orders, say colleagues, friends and family. During a recent day of meetings, he looked directly at each person and listened as they spoke - from the athletic director to the provost to student journalists. He nodded, his arms often crossed, as the visitors to his office shared their ideas and concerns. He offered suggestions on rare occasions, advice he took from General Electric chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who told him, "Once the boss speaks, it's over. If you don't speak, you let people generate the ideas," Jenkins recalled.

The adjective most often used to describe him is "human." He listens to everything from J.S. Bach to Bob Dylan and Norah Jones on an iPod when traveling, and hooks up the portable player to a small stereo when he's home. When he cooks, he uses a basic, George Foreman indoor grill to make hamburgers or hot dogs, much like his graduate student neighbors, and he had a Betty Crocker cookbook on top of his stove.

He is humble, declining to say what he gave up for Lent for fear it would sound boastful, according to longtime friend Martha Merritt, an associate director at Notre Dame's Institute for International Peace Studies. She said he told her: "This is a pact between oneself and God and it is not meant to be the subject of casually, joking conversation between friends, but denial of something."

He is surprisingly - and subtly - funny, quick to deliver a one-liner even during the opening mass of the school year. Instead of the traditional service conclusion of "let us go forth in peace, to love and serve the Lord," Jenkins added, "Let us go forth in peace ... and let's go shoot off some fireworks," a nod to the celebration that kicks off the school year.

Not quite shy, Jenkins still tends to be introverted, a word that he agrees fits his personality when used to describe someone who re-energizes by being alone. Even as a child, his grandfather nicknamed him "The Mole" because he liked to retreat to the basement to read, according to his older brother Tom.
Ms. Cohen does a fair job presenting the basic humanity and devotion of this humble priest. He does not have an easy job. Notre Dame continues to witness to God's presence in the world while maintaining its standing as a first-rate University that stands toe-to-toe with any secular institutions. Fr. Jenkins now bears the responsibility of continuing this American Catholic legacy. May God shoulder his burden and walk by his side every step he takes as Notre Dame's latest President. Go Irish!

Christianity Today on "The Bible in American Public Life, 1860-2005"

Professor Mark Knoll of Wheaton College offers us this history of The Bible in American Public Life, 1860-2005 here.

He takes us on a whirlwind tour of the use of the bible by various American and Non-American partisans throughout history. In the end, he concludes:
In traditional Judaism and Christianity, the Bible has been more than a historical document to be preserved or a classic of literature to be cherished and admired; it is recognized as the unique record of God's dealing with people over the ages. The Old Testament sets forth the call of a special people to enter into covenant relation with the God of justice and steadfast love and to bring God's law to the nations. The New Testament records the life and work of Jesus Christ, the one in whom "the Word became flesh" as well as describes the rise and spread of the early Christian Church. The Bible carries its full message, not to those who regard it simply as a noble literary heritage of the past or who wish to use it to enhance political purposes and advance otherwise desirable goals, but to all persons and communities who read it so that they may discern and understand what God is saying to them.24

From the angle provided by this statement, let me propose three premises arising from my own convictions and then three political implications:

Premise 1: In the terms of the NRSV statement, the Bible is true for all people in all times and in all places.

Premise 2: Therefore, the Bible can never be the possession of only one modern nation or of only one faction within a particular nation.

Premise 3: While everything in the Bible can be construed as political, politics can never exhaust, equal, or contain the message of the Bible.25

Implication 1: American society would be immeasurably poorer if it was no longer possible to bring the universal message of Scripture to bear on the particulars of American public life as did Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., with such memorable effect.

Implication 2: Narrow use of the Bible for partisan political advantage violates what the Bible itself says about the dignity of all human beings under God and also what it says about political power as a stewardship bestowed by God for the maintenance of order, the guarantee of justice, and the care of the powerless.

Implication 3: Given the current American situation, the only hope for using the Bible in public life that conforms to the Bible's own message is to employ it humbly, wisely, and on behalf of all people.
That sounds about right. God is for all of us. He can't be claimed for any one faction over another. On the contrary, he offers his redemption to all of us sinners equally and without prejudice. The least we can do is accept his generosity in humility and gratitude. Instead, many make two regretable mistakes:
1. God is on our side and against them over there!

2. There is no God; there's nothing accept us, so we better play the part.
Both make God's Truth out to be a lie. Thus, there's no truth in their witness. They've set themselves apart from God in their misguided belief that he stands with them or doesn't stand at all.

The holy Scriptures reveal God's love to all humanity. They can never serve this purpose if their hijacked by political partisans of any ideology as a political tool. Let the dead bury their dead. Leave Scripture in the hands of those that honor God's purpose in providing it. There's more than enough political import there for all humanity. Not just ours over here.

Pope Benedict XVI Meets Kung

Lightening did not strike the dissident theolgian dead, thus disproving the existence of God! (:)) Italy's own covers the story here.

In fact, the two contemporaries enjoyed a civil meeting. They kept theology out of it:
Benedict XVI received a visit this weekend from dissident Catholic theologian Hans Kung, who described his election to the papacy earlier this year as a "huge disappointment" .

The two-hour meeting, which took place at the pope's summer residence in Castelgandolfo on Saturday, was held "in a friendly atmosphere", the Vatican said in a statement on Monday .

"It was a joy for both of us to meet again after so many years. We didn't embrace because we Germans are not as effusive as you Latins," Kung told Ansa .

Benedict, 78, and Kung, 77, avoided talking about the theological questions that have divided them for decades .

"Both sides agreed that it made no sense to get into a dispute over the persisting doctrinal issues between Hans Kung and Catholic Church teaching," the Vatican statement continued .

The theologian, who comes from German-speaking Switzerland, has set himself apart from mainstream Catholic thinking by calling into question papal infallibility and the need for priestly celibacy. Because of these positions, in 1979 the Vatican stripped him of his licence to teach as a Roman Catholic theologian. The action was a symbolic slap in the face for Kung who nevertheless carried on teaching as a tenured professor of ecumenical theology in Tubingen until retiring in 1996 .
A quick aside: the Reasonable once again distorts the truth in order to support the Agenda. In this case, they must extoll the brave nobility of the stand-alone deep thinker that opposes the mean old hierarchal Church. Observe:
In recent years, Kung has been working on a project called the Global Ethic, which tries to find what values world religions share and thus lay down moral views that everyone can accept .

This outlook implicitly goes against the Church doctrine which says Catholicism is the only true religion.
Funny, I've never heard of that doctrine. I wonder where they got it from. Perhaps Nostra Aetate?
2. From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history; at times some indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a Father. This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a profound religious sense.

Religions, however, that are bound up with an advanced culture have struggled to answer the same questions by means of more refined concepts and a more developed language. Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)

The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.
Guess not.

The Church recognizes, in genuine humility, that God has revealed to her through Christ the fullness of truth regarding God and humanity. This in no way means the Church believes herself to possess the only true religion. She clearly recognizes the truth that other religions hold, to the extent that they hold them. For Christ is Truth, and to the extent those religions grasp the truth, they grasp him.

However, noting this does not allow Mr. Kung to bask in the glory of the stand-apart Individual, the champion of free-thinking among sheep! Therefore, this clear teaching of the Church must not be presented accurately. The Agenda must come first.

Addressing the main theme of the article, I welcome the Pope's decision to meet Kung. He demonstrates his sheperd's heart when he welcomes one such as Kung, who publically criticized his election to the Papacy and continues to practice dissent from Catholicism's teachings. Pope Benedict willingly welcomes his old collegue and shows that we are to welcome all, even those that despise us. Christ himself made friends with the discarded of his society, and his own apostles would betray, deny and abandon him. Yet he forgave them, and through their witness, us!

The Pope witnesses to the Sheperd of us all. Will we pay attention?

Rita's Ruins

Late September rain
Humidity fills the night
Struggle to breath

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Sirens of Summer's Last Stand

Crickets still sing on
Fight the doom of Autumn's rise
End of their days here.

UN Yawns, Considers Condemning Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

ABC News spins the details, courtesy of Reuters Alert.

Why do I call it spin? Take a look at ABC's headline: "UN condemns Iran amid nuclear bomb fears". Now, consider details from the actual report:
The U.N. nuclear watchdog passed a resolution on Saturday requiring that Iran be reported to the Security Council for failing to convince the international community that its nuclear program was entirely peaceful.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) governing board approved the resolution despite threats by Iran to begin enriching uranium and curtail IAEA inspections.

The resolution was drafted by Britain, France and Germany and backed by the United States, but it was watered down by the EU trio who had wanted Iran to be referred to the Council now.

With 22 votes for, one against and 12 abstentions, the outcome also highlighted the split between Western nations and others such as Russia, China and South Africa, which disagree with the EU three and Washington on how to deal with Iran.

Iran denies it is seeking atomic bombs and says its nuclear program is only for generating electricity. But it concealed its atomic fuel program from the IAEA for 18 years.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said the vote was a valid decision supported by a majority but added that the international divide was worrying.

"I was deeply disturbed by the lack of any mention of arms control and disarmament at the (U.N.) summit in New York last week. And today I see also a divided board. That is not the way I should hope we would continue to proceed," he said.
The UN continues its irrelevance, while the Reasonable MSM continue their blind infatuation with internationalism. The UN hasn't condemned anything. The UN agency responsible for monitering nuclear proliferation passes a resolution with 22 affirmative and 13 non-commital/negative votes that refers Iran to the Security Council. Meanwhile, the volatile Islamic Republic, faced with internal economic and political pressures, continues to support Hezbollah and the terrorists in Iraq while undermining the Iraqi government through pro-Iranian Shia patsies like Al Sadr. Now, they're going to enrich uranium to supposedly meet their electric power requirements, when they possess the world's largest supply of Natural gas. An unstable dictatorship seeks to perpetuate its illegitimacy through extreme nationalism, religious intolerance, terrorism and now, nuclear brinksmanship. And the IAEA can muster little more than half its members to refer Iran to the SC for sanctions?

The UN has failed to live up to the aspirations of its founders. Between it's horrendous corruption and inefficience, it has become a sad characterture of what it once was meant to be. Instead of offering a forum in which nations in conflict may diplomatically work out their differences, it's become a public stage for nations to posture. The power of the moment will use the UN to cloak its own interests in the mantle of Internation common good. The USSR and China see business opportunities for an Iran going Nuclear. Not to mention a preferred supplier of a valuable natural resource. Thus, they'll likely balk any responsible position that the SC takes vis a vis Iran.

Meanwhile, the world faces the prospect of its number one Terrorist sponser having nuclear weapons at its disposal. May God have mercy on us all!

Rita's glancing blow to Refineries

BREITBART.COM has some good news from the AP

The Cat 2 hurricane struck vulnerable oil rigs and refineries in Texas and Louisiana with less force than forecasters had first anticipated. This means that Rita's impact on fuel prices shouldn't be as drastic as first believed. Perhaps this will ease the speculator's jitters, or glee (guess that depends on your perspective!)

The Details:
Hurricane Rita smacked a key region for oil-refining with less force than feared on Saturday, although there were some early signs of damage.

Pump prices for gasoline and diesel fuel could rise if pipelines and oil refineries are slow to resume operations, and analysts said they were paying close attention to facilities in Lake Charles, La., and Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas.

"There will be some modest disruption of supplies of gasoline and other products," said William Veno, an analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates "But I don't think it's going to be as severe a situation as Hurricane Katrina."

Power outages were reported across wide swaths of Texas and Louisiana, leaving more than a million customers without electricity and one utility spokeswoman said it could be weeks before service is fully restored.

Valero Energy Corp. said it will take two weeks to a month to repair and restart its 255,000-barrel-per-day Port Arthur refinery, which sustained "significant damage to two cooling towers and a flare stack."

But on a positive note, Valero said there was no serious flood damage at its Port Arthur facility and the company received reports that the lights were on at its refineries in Houston and Texas City, Texas _ plants that refine almost 300,000 barrels of oil per day. BP PLC spokesman Scott Dean said that was encouraging since "they're right next door to us there." BP's Texas City refinery processes 437,000 barrels per day.

Marathon Petroleum Co. said its Texas City refinery, which processes 72,000 barrels of crude oil per day, has power and sustained only minimal damage.
Is there more demand for refining capacity now? Perhaps some bold venture capitalists can come through when someone with a touch of foresight awakens to the profitability of the idea. Now, who can blame those oil companies, such as the ones cited by the AP article, from wanting to maintain the status quo. It's pretty good for them as is, considering that they process the oil and then get to sell it to Joe sixpack's gas station for a healthy markup. However, don't oil companies, and the refinery subsidiarities, require some type of government authorization in order to do business? IF they do, and considering the strategic importance to the economy and National Security, then the people have a vested interest in making sure prices are as fair as possible. But that doesn't mean Uncle Sam needs to break out the stick. Carrots may be called for instead.

What if Uncle Sam offered significant tax breaks in exchange for oil companies and venture capitalists investing in significant refinery capacity? That may encourage them to get off their tuffs. Besides, with more refinery capacity comes the ability to move more finished product quickly. The subsequent drop in prices for gasoline will most likely be offset by the increase in demand, as motorists become more willing to fill up at the pump more frequently. Oil companies may increase profit margins while serving the common good simultaneously! What a concept!

Instead of buying people's goodwill through needless pork, maybe the President and Congress can make the oil companies an offer they can't refuse. Genuine relief at the pumps will carry politicians further than pork-filled manipulations.

Leadership tends to do that.

Social-Justice Conservatism

Hat tip to Catholic Analysis. Senator Rick Santorum and British MP Ian Duncan Smith offer a vision of social-justice conservatism in OpinionJournal.

They want to liberate social justice from the "the Babylonian Captivity of socialists and other leftists." Consider the following:
In many conservative circles, "social justice" is synonymous with socialism or radical individualism. No wonder: For decades, the political left has used it as a Trojan horse for its big-state agenda. Yet the wreckage of their policies is obvious. Compared to the U.S., most European economies are struggling with inflation, unemployment, low growth and a declining tax base; nearly all European societies are burdened with increased crime and family breakdown; and there is a draining away of hope and opportunity.

Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond are charting a new vision of social justice. It recognizes that the problems caused or aggravated by the growth in government cannot be corrected by a crude reduction in its size. Policy must also deliberately foster the growth of what Edmund Burke called "the little platoons" of civil society: families, neighborhood associations, private enterprises, charities and churches. These are the real source of economic growth and social vitality.

The social justice agenda we endorse is grounded in social conservatism. That means helping the poor discover the dignity of work, rather than making them wards of the state. It means locking up violent criminals, but offering nonviolent offenders lots of help to become responsible citizens. It endorses a policy of "zero tolerance" toward drug use and sexual trafficking, yet insists that those struggling with all manner of addictions can start their lives afresh.

In America, this vision emerged a decade ago with bold conservative initiatives aimed at empowering individuals and grassroots groups helping the nation's neediest, such as the Community Renewal Act and other antipoverty initiatives. Today's CARE Act is part of the same tradition. Likewise, the Bush administration's plan to create a Gulf Opportunity Zone after Hurricane Katrina would offer tax relief and small-business loans to support a culture of entrepreneurship.
Can conservatives do it? Can they rehabilitate the concept of social justice after it's long abuse by Reasonable Welfare-statists? Perhaps. But the catch remains. That catch is human nature. Whether liberal or conservative, Fool or Reasonable, all humanity suffers from the effects of original sin. That means everyone faces the same temptations of power--and may fall for them.

Successive Republican Congresses under the Bush Administration have spent like drunken sailors. Pork rises as the benefits of buying influence for voting constituencies pay dividends. Can conservatives maintain their commitment to the principle they believe differentiate themselves from their liberal collegues? So far, they don't have a great fiscal record to go on. And as they say, money talks and the rest walks.

Their goals are certainly consistent with Catholic Social Teaching. Their commitment to restore the "little platoons" of society will certainly transform society for the better. Will they do what they say? Even if it costs them in the short term?

Will anyone?

Be Patient, as the Lord is Patient

Catholic Exchange has the Homily of the Day

Witness Monsignor Clark's encouraging testimony! If you've struggled with holiness, you're not alone! Most importantly, God understands. While he expects the best from us, our Father knows that sanctity takes time:
It can be mighty discouraging and can even make us want to give up. But before we do that, it might be a good idea to see what God has to say about it. He's trying to catch our attention. He's calling us by name. LISTEN!

"I've been walking at your side from the very beginning," he says, "and following your progress with great hope. And that's why I asked Jesus to tell you the story about the two sons. Because you are like the both of them: Sometimes you say 'yes' to me, but then get distracted or tired and your 'yes' accidentally turns into a 'no.'

"And sometimes you start with a loud 'NO!' and then your better self takes over and you turn it round into the beginning of a 'yes' — maybe a little shakey at first, but a beginning. And that makes me so proud of you, because I know what turnarounds cost.

"I know," says the Lord, "that sometimes you don't see the progress you're making. You feel disappointed that you haven't done better, faster. Dear child, I'm not surprised at all. These things take time. I knew that when I made you.
Approach-avoidance plagues many of us. We may often take two steps forward and then one step back. On our good days! Thankfully, we worship a God who is slow to anger, rich in mercy and who loves us enough to sacrifice his own Son for us! He created us and understands how difficult, and time-consuming, growth in Love can be.

As long as we open ourselves to him, and say yes to him as best we can each day, we will become more in Christ each day. Growth takes time and effort. Let us have patience with ourselves: the same patience that God already shows us.

Compassion in Action or Politics as Usual?

CNS STORY has the story.

Hard-pressed Gulf Coast school children have nowhere to go. The government has offered to fund up to 90% of all schoo children's educational expenses. What's the reaction by Democrats and Teacher's unions? "No Vouchers!"

Can Reasonable mouth-foamers not politicize a clear and present need in a time of crisis? Apparently not:
Government and educational leaders agree on one thing: The 372,000 students from the Gulf Coast who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina need help. But just how this help is divvied up remains in question.

When the U.S. Department of Education announced plans Sept. 16 to pay 90 percent of the educational costs of students and schools affected by Hurricane Katrina for one year, some Democrats and officials from teachers' unions immediately saw red flags. They said the plan for spending $7,500 per displaced student in public or private schools amounted to nothing short of a way to sneak in a national voucher program.

But cooler heads seemed to prevail during a Sept. 22 hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Education and Child Development on how to legislate aid for Katrina's displaced school children. "This committee has moved from being the most contentious to being the most productive," said Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which oversees the subcommittee.

Even those opposed to vouchers said the emergency educational aid package could work for all students, as long as it was carefully worded and explicitly specified as a temporary emergency provision for one year.

The department's plan seeks $2.6 million in new hurricane relief spending. It would distribute public-school funds through school districts and private-school funds directly to parents -- in line with the 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing vouchers only if parents, not schools, receive the funds.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said his support for the Katrina aid relief proposal to benefit public and private school students was "a deviation from the voucher position" he has taken in the past.

"This is not the time to rewrite laws; this is a tragedy," he said, noting that the response to the crisis "needs to be balanced and thoughtful to get these kids back on their feet as soon as possible."
Thankfully, "cooler heads prevailed." What's the priority when 372,000 school children have no opportunity to continue their education? Well, this fool imagines that getting the kids back into school ought to top the list. But some decided that this was too unReasonable! "Oh no!" they might as well have said, "We can't let those Foolish theocrats in the illegitimate Bush administration do this! They don't care about kids. They're just using them to hammer a hole in the separation of Church and State. They just want to use these kids to turn the country into a Foolish theocracy. They want to put hard-working teachers down!"

Ridiculous. Carpet. Broom. Door. Soon, evermen, soon. America could use a good sweeping!