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It seems Pope Francis needs to brush up on his Tertullian!

It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, June 17, 2005

Anyway, I really DO get mail...

Commenting on my post on Mad Hot Ballroom,

EddieLampert said...
a little too long for me.

Naturally, I assumed he was a copyright lawyer bugging me about the length of my quote from the Prison Fellowship review.

After lengthy talks with my lawyers I realized EL thinks the movie was too long. I will take his word for it.

HINT: For me, it wasn't about the movie.

I get mail...

So a few people have noticed. Nice, but beside the point.

I do not want to sound prickly, but if you don't get it, then don't bother to comment. You are wasting your time and, more importantly, mine.
That reads very unfriendly. How about this: If you don't get it, you are in the wrong place.

This is not meant as a judgement of you on my part. You simply navigated incorrectly. You stumbled out of your comfort zone into something that makes you uncomfortable. No problem. Simply go elsewhere. I suggest a familiar place where you can be with people just like you. There is a lot to be said for tribalism, after all.

In a word, this is my place. It may be public, but it is not for everybody.
Silly, but I thought all this was understood.

Of course, for the handful of you who do get it - Let's Party!

Crackup update.

Anti-public school resolution defeated

A resolution offered at the annual meeting of the Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly that encouraged members to pull their children out of public schools was soundly defeated yesterday.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the resolution was similar to a measure offered at the Southern Baptist Convention gathering last year, a proposal that met the same fate.

Every once in a while, something sweet, beautiful, and good comes along.

From Prison Fellowship (via Townhall.com) come this movie review by Mark Gauvreau Judge.

I have just emerged from one of the most moving films I have ever seen—a documentary called Mad Hot Ballroom. The movie tells the story of a remarkable program launched ten years ago in New York City public schools, a program that teaches grade school children how to ballroom dance and prepares them for a city-wide competition.

I must admit that I went into the movie with something of a bias. A little more than ten years ago, I learned how to swing dance. It was an experience that changed my life. In fact, it was so remarkable that I recount it my book If It Ain’t Got That Swing. Formal dancing, I learned, was about much more than movement—it was about manners, etiquette, dignity, and respect for yourself and others. It was also a wonderful response to the lax morals and hideous flip-flop and fanny-pack fashions that tarnished society in the 1960s. While swing dancing, I saw rock and roll kids turn into young adults.

The dance students in Mad Hot Ballroom have a similar experience. (Although they learn the fox trot, rhumba and other dances besides swing.) Indeed, one of the teachers actually states that the ballroom dancing program has changed students into “young ladies and gentlemen.” She even breaks down and cries at the wonder of it.

Her emotional response is understandable. The poverty rate of the kids in one school is over 90 percent. Several of the kids seem headed for jail. But we watch in amazement and delight as their prospects are dramatically improved through the art form of dance. The learning, and then loving, of dance may have literally saved their lives.

Surprising, but it shouldn't be. I guess we are jaded and fearful.

Of course, it’s the students, not the teachers, who are the real stars of the movie. Their transformation from shy, awkward kids into passionate, confident dancers is moving and often hilarious. But their transformation is more than entertainment—it’s a story of deep cultural meaning. The kids are, as their teachers keep telling them, learning more than dance steps—they are learning that passions must be shaped by traditional principles. Only then will they experience genuinely joyful expression.

This axiom carries far beyond the dance floor. When I was researching my book If it Ain’t Got that Swing, I interviewed a dance historian from Howard University. She told me that the lessons learned in dance class—how to give and take, follow structure, and have concern for your partner—are principles that dancers bring into marriage. Imagine my shock and delight when I heard this idea expressed, almost word for word, by one of the young dancers in Mad Hot Ballroom.

Of course they don't get it.

Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, movie critics have generally ignored the lessons taught in Mad Hot Ballroom. Sarah Kaufman, writing in The Washington Post, praises the film, but worries about “the gender bias embedded in the art form, which means spirited, outspoken girls have to submit to being ‘led’ by their awkward, sometimes intimidated male counterparts.”

Elsewhere in The Post, Michael O’Sullivan opened his review with this:

The essence of ballroom dance, it seems, lies not in the formal steps that the feet take or the way the hips move to the music. It’s not in the frozen smiles on the faces of the dancers or the way one partner must maintain eye contact with the other. It isn’t even in the rigid “frame” a couple holds with their arms as their bodies glide in unison across the dance floor. It’s in the heart.

This is so stunningly wrong I can’t even feel angry about it. It’s as mystifying as someone calling The Passion of the Christ a stirring defense of atheism. My guess is that O’Sullivan is so steeped in the liberal philosophy of feelings and emotion over structure and discipline, that he simply mashed Mad Hot Ballroom into that template, regardless of whether or not it fit.

Senator Dick details.

James Taranto and the Best of the Web team administer a concise beat-down to the Dick of the Day.

Durbin Digs InDick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, is refusing to apologize for likening U.S. servicemen to Nazis, comments we noted yesterday. Instead, as the State Journal-Register of Springfield reports, Durbin issued a statement that said, "This administration should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions."
In truth, it isn't the Bush administration that is abandoning the Geneva Conventions. It is the critics, such as Amnesty International, who insist that terrorists should be protected under the conventions as if they were legitimate soldiers or civilians. The purpose of the Geneva Conventions is not to protect combatants' "human rights" but to spell out the rules of war, rules that impose reciprocal obligations on both sides of a conflict.
A central reason for those rules is to protect civilians by declaring that they are not legitimate targets of military action. Combatants who pose as civilians (i.e., do not wear uniforms) or who target civilians are spies and terrorists respectively and are not entitled to protection as prisoners of war. Indeed, Durbin acknowledged in his Senate speech that "the Geneva Conventions do not give POW status to terrorists."
But he went on to insist that the conventions "protect everyone captured during wartime." He bases this on the "official commentary on the convention," which states that "nobody in enemy hands can fall outside the law." Durbin is unclear as to just what protection he thinks al Qaeda terrorists should get. And little wonder, because the implication of his comments is that terrorists are entitled to protection as civilians.
As the Amnesty International report linked above notes, the source of the commentary Durbin quoted is the International Committee on the Red Cross, and it refers to Article 4 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which protects civilians captured during wartime. Yet the actual text of Article 4 says something quite different:
Nationals of a neutral State who find themselves in the territory of a belligerent State, and nationals of a co-belligerent State, shall not be regarded as protected persons while the State of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic representation in the State in whose hands they are.
This would exclude someone like Mohammed al-Qahtani, the Saudi national whose "torture" at the lungs of Christina Aguilera made the cover of Time this week. As a matter of international law, his fate has nothing to do with the Geneva Conventions but is a matter between Washington and Riyadh.
In any case, if Dick Durbin thinks terrorists are the moral or legal equivalent of civilians, let him say so directly. And even if this is a legitimate point of view, it doesn't excuse his smearing American soldiers as Nazi-like.

Un-art update.

DEFINE ART: An internal investigation into the conduct of a UCLA graduate student who simulated Russian roulette during an art-class performance is now over and he is not expelled, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. Two UCLA artist-professors left the university after student Joseph Deutch's stunt last January, saying through a spokesman that he had effectively terrorized his classmates. Curiously, one of those professors, Chris Burden, made his name in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a series of "self-punishing" performances in which he variously had himself shot in the arm, crucified on the hood of a VW Beetle, placed in the path of a flaming gasoline wave, etc. Mr. Deutch, by comparison, was only pretending.

From The Unknown History Department:

Hippie Squad!

For more than a few boomer men, such a question would ruin an otherwise pleasant Father's Day, calling up memories of antiwar anger, countercultural folly and bad hair. But in my house it was always the start of an enjoyable generational exchange. My late father, a Navy vet who retired in 1972 as a detective captain after 25 years in the New York Police Department, always had a striking answer when one of his eight children (or their children) asked him about those days. "I ran the Hippie Squad," he would say.

During his long NYPD career, my father guarded Fidel Castro, held down the fort in "Fort Apache" and taught Telly Savalas how to answer the phone for "Kojak." But leading the 20 or so young undercover detectives in this real-life "Mod Squad" was his favorite assignment.

Flashback, October 1967: As the Summer of Love fades into autumn in New York's East Village, runaway teenage socialite Linda Fitzpatrick is found bludgeoned to death with her hippie boyfriend, "Groovy" Hutchinson. Just a few months before, Fitzpatrick had graduated from prestigious Oldfields School in Maryland. By the time of her death she had become a "meth monster," last seen panhandling before she was lured into the basement of a tenement by promises of an LSD party.

There must be millions of cop stories like this out there.

The members of the Hippie Squad came from all over the city, many from police narcotics units familiar with undercover work. The chief of detectives promised that there would be no deadweight, and he delivered. The unit was diverse--Irish, Italians, blacks, Jews and Latinos. They forged a family-like bond, dining together before their 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. shift.
To pass, some squad members grew beards or long hair and wore ratty clothes, their guns holstered under bell-bottomed pants. Others donned leopard-print vests or put studs in their noses. "Born actors," my father would say. "Shoulda been on Broadway." For his part, my father, then 45 years old and the boss, dressed in an older "Dragnet" style: good suit, sharp tie and fedora hat.

The detectives worked in groups of two or three and traveled in unmarked cars. In the cases referred by Missing Persons, they used "stoolies" for help. They picked up other runaways randomly on the street, tipped off by tender ages and nervous demeanors. The bulk of the squad's action involved minors apprehended in "no knock" raids on crashpads or parties. In the late 1960s, when the legality of warrantless searches was unsettled, "it was easier to take a door off its hinges," former Detective O'Connell says.

The squad arrested the predators it found, but it tried as much as possible to return the runaways to their parents. "Ours was more a social mission than a law enforcement mission," Mr. O'Connell explains. Indeed, a lot of the kids had hit bottom by the time the Hippie Squad found them. They wanted to go home and just needed a little help or coaxing.

This would make a good book.

By late 1968, hipppiedom was ebbing in the city and the number of runaways declining. One night, my Dad told his men that the squad was to be disbanded. In a little more than a year, it had found and returned 350 runaways.

For my father, the job's greatest satisfaction was the gratitude of the parents--and some of the runaways. He kept their letters until he died. "The lieutenant was most kind and understanding," one parent wrote. The detectives who had helped to find her daughter did "excellent work."


Oprah Winfrey caused a stir recently when she told an audience in South Africa that, in an effort to learn more about her ancestry, she had had her DNA tested--and found out that she is a Zulu. It's a tribute to Ms. Winfrey's fame that her comment in Johannesburg was reported as far away as Australia and India, although some accounts suggested that West Africa--the epicenter of the slave trade--is a much more likely site of genetic origin for an African-American.

The truth is that, wherever Ms. Winfrey's forebears came from, there is no DNA test that can magically pinpoint anybody's distant or "deep" ancestry, Zulu or otherwise. Even so, many Americans--including some who would rather die than have the FBI know what books they bought--are busy sending their genetic blueprint to companies and organizations that offer ancestry tests.

Not everyone can be a Zulu, dear.

Practitioners advertising skill in the fine art of interpreting DNA results are finding clients. And no wonder, judging by this Q&A on an ancestry-testing Web site: "If I see my mutation in the chart pointing to a sub-clade why should I test? Answer: You see your HVR-1 mutations only! That can simply be the result of homoplasy (Remember it is a 'hot spot' region!). You must confirm the sub-branch (when possible) with the coding region mutation that stands for a unique event polymorphism."

As impressive as that may sound, a geneticist we asked said it was gobbledygook and basically meaningless. So is much of the ancestry testing game. As true scientists in the field of genetics know, human beings are very similar genetically, and the variations that do exist can be found in virtually all populations. The best that could honestly be said to test-takers is, for instance, that they might have an ancestral connection to a certain region of the world. Given the limits of current hard science, DNA testing can offer less reliable information than old-fashioned genealogy and family trees.

Science. Again!

Paul Johnson: Europe has turned its back on both the past and the future.

Paul Johnson has written more great books than any man alive save Solzhenitsyn. OpinionJournal gave him space to poke at the corpse of Europe with a sharp stick.

That Europe as an entity is sick and the European Union as an institution is in disorder cannot be denied. But no remedies currently being discussed can possibly remedy matters. What ought to depress partisans of European unity in the aftermath of the rejection of its proposed constitution by France and the Netherlands is not so much the foundering of this ridiculous document as the response of the leadership to the crisis, especially in France and Germany.

Jacques Chirac reacted by appointing as prime minister Dominque de Villepin, a frivolous playboy who has never been elected to anything and is best known for his view that Napoleon should have won the Battle of Waterloo and continued to rule Europe. (Idiot! - F.G.) Gerhard Schröder of Germany simply stepped up his anti-American rhetoric. What is notoriously evident among the EU elite is not just a lack of intellectual power but an obstinacy and blindness bordering on imbecility. As the great pan-European poet Schiller put it: "There is a kind of stupidity with which even the Gods struggle in vain."

The fundamental weaknesses of the EU that must be remedied if it is to survive are threefold. First, it has tried to do too much, too quickly and in too much detail. Jean Monnet, architect of the Coal-Steel Pool, the original blueprint for the EU, always said: "Avoid bureaucracy. Guide, do not dictate. Minimal rules." He had been brought up in, and learned to loathe, the Europe of totalitarianism, in which communism, fascism and Nazism competed to impose regulations on every aspect of human existence. He recognized that the totalitarian instinct lies deep in European philosophy and mentality--in Rousseau and Hegel as well as Marx and Nietzsche-- (Emphasis mine.) and must be fought against with all the strength of liberalism, which he felt was rooted in Anglo-Saxon individualism.

Mr. Johnson is an Englishman of the old sort. Special relationship and all that.

The rise of anti-Americanism, a form of irrationalism deliberately whipped up by Messrs. Schröder and Chirac, who believe it wins votes, is particularly tragic, for the early stages of the EU had their roots in admiration of the American way of doing things and gratitude for the manner in which the U.S. had saved Europe first from Nazism, then (under President Harry Truman) from the Soviet Empire--by the Marshall Plan in 1947 and the creation of NATO in 1949.
Europe's founding fathers--Monnet himself, Robert Schumann in France, Alcide de Gasperi in Italy and Konrad Adenauer in Germany--were all fervently pro-American and anxious to make it possible for European populations to enjoy U.S.-style living standards. Adenauer in particular, assisted by his brilliant economics minister Ludwig Erhardt, rebuilt Germany's industry and services, following the freest possible model. This was the origin of the German "economic miracle," in which U.S. ideas played a determining part. The German people flourished as never before in their history, and unemployment was at record low levels. The decline of German growth and the present stagnation date from the point at which her leaders turned away from America and followed the French "social market" model.

Sunday is Father's Day.

I hope you love your dad as much as I love mine and I hope you are as proud to be your father's son...

Nope. It's not possible.

John Derbyshire spits into the wind.

A noble effort sir, but quite quixotic. We'll have to pry space exploration from the government's cold, dead hands.

Like the monster in some ghastly horror movie rising from the dead for the umpteenth time, the space shuttle is back on the launch pad. This grotesque, lethal white elephant — 14 deaths in 113 flights — is the grandest, grossest technological folly of our age. If the shuttle has any reason for existing, it is as an exceptionally clear symbol of our corrupt, sentimental, and dysfunctional political system. Its flights accomplish nothing and cost half a billion per. That, at least, is what a flight costs when the vehicle survives. If a shuttle blows up — which, depending on whether or not you think that 35 human lives (five original launchworthy Shuttles at seven astronauts each) would be too high a price to pay for ridding the nation of an embarrassing and expensive monstrosity, is either too often or not often enough** — then the cost, what with lost inventory, insurance payouts, and the endless subsequent investigations, is seven or eight times that.

There is no longer much pretense that shuttle flights in particular, or manned space flight in general, has any practical value. You will still occasionally hear people repeating the old NASA lines about the joys of microgravity manufacturing and insights into osteoporesis, but if you repeat these tales to a materials scientist or a physiologist, you will get peals of laughter in return. To seek a cure for osteoporesis by spending $500 million to put seven persons and 2,000 tons of equipment into earth orbit is a bit like… well, it is so extravagantly preposterous that any simile you can come up with falls flat. It is like nothing else in the annals of human folly.

NR: The Terri Schiavo autopsy changes nothing.

The results of the autopsy of Terri Schiavo are being taken as a vindication for the successful campaign to dehydrate her to death and a rebuke to those who unsuccessfully resisted this campaign. They should not be.

A great many claims and counter-claims were made in the course of the contentious debate over Mrs. Schiavo’s fate, and the autopsy sheds light on some of them. No evidence was found that Schiavo’s 1990 collapse was caused by abuse at the hands of her husband. Her brain damage was found to be irreversible. And she was found to have been blind. (News accounts of the autopsy leave it unclear whether it was determined when blindness set in and when the brain damage became irreversible.)

These are the three main findings that are held to retrospectively validate one side of the argument. But no responsible critic of Mrs. Schiavo’s dehydration rested his case on an allegation of abuse. (NR explicitly urged opponents of the dehydration not to make such reckless allegations.) While many people held out the hope that treatment might improve Schiavo’s condition, very few people thought it at all likely that she would recover to the point, for example, of being able to hold a conversation.

About the main arguments against killing Terri Schiavo, the autopsy had nothing to say. Many people believed that it is wrong deliberately to bring about the death of innocent human beings, whatever their condition; that it is especially wrong when there is doubt about what that person wanted, and when her family members are willing to provide care for her; that Mr. Schiavo was too compromised to make this decision; that a law enabling the killing of people in a “persistent vegetative state” should not be stretched to cover people who might be “minimally conscious”; and that the Supreme Court should not have established the current lax standards for denying incapacitated people food and water. Nobody who believed these things has any reason to change his mind based on this week’s evidence. — The Editors

Roberto deserves better than this.

Internet Auction Outrages Roberto Clemente's Family

The son of Pirates legend Roberto Clemente says he will take legal action against an Internet auction house that's selling pieces of the plane in which his father died.Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash in Puerto Rico on New Year's Eve 1972 while flying to Nicaragua to deliver relief supplies to earthquake survivors. His chartered plane crashed into the ocean just seconds after it left the ground.Though Clemente's body was never found, parts of the plane were recovered.Now, nearly 33 years later, Lelands.com is auctioning off pieces of the plane -- including one of its propellers and part of the metal airframe. Clemente's family is outraged. His son says he will not tolerate anyone trying to benefit from his father's death.
(Thanks to KDKA)

Durbin's disciples descend into dementia.

It turns out Senator Dick knows the yahoos he represents.

You think that California, New York and Massachusetts are left-wing? According to the results of the Chicago Tribune poll on Durbin's comments comparing Gitmo to the tactics of Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin, 72% of Tribune readers found the comments appropriate, while only 27.9% thought it was inappropriate.
(Thanks to Laura Ingraham for the heads up.)

Books of the Day

Plus an interview with the author, Tom Woods, at Human Events OnLine.

With a background in American history and a deep interest in the Roman Catholic Church, Suffolk County Community College professor Tom Woods worked tirelessly over the past year on two books—The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, a New York Times bestseller, and How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. (Both were published by Regnery—a Human Events sister company.) During a recent visit to Washington, Woods spoke with Managing Editor Robert Bluey and intern Mary Ellen Burke about the books.

You outline the contributions the church has made to society. What do you personally see as the most significant?

Woods: One of them would be the university system and the intellectual life of the high Middle Ages. I cite a great many scholars—Catholics and non-Catholics—who say that the church and the university gave birth to a culture that was very rigorous in its treatment of intellectual topics. Look at Thomas Aquinas. He’s someone who takes an issue and chews it over, looks at it from every angle and considers all the objections to his position. That’s the kind of intellectual life that would bear such fruit in Western Europe and that culminates in the Scientific Revolution. They looked at all sides of the question and investigated it thoroughly.
The other thing would be charitable work. People don’t know how important it was quantitatively, but also the qualitative difference there was between the ancient worlds’ charitable work and that of the church. In the ancient world, in Greece and Rome, there was often contempt for the poor, and when people did show liberality toward them it was often just to show off or to put the poor in their debt. That’s why it was a culture in which you saw infanticide. There’s no emphasis on the sanctity of life. The church totally overturned that and brought a completely new way of thinking about the poor and about human life. That’s why it has been a formative influence on western civilization.

Why is the church so bad at promoting the accomplishments you highlight in the book?

Woods: Individual popes have written about the church’s devotion to learning, and I believe it was Leo XIII who started the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and established an astronomical observatory. But in spite of those efforts, at other levels of the church, people are not talking about it. We need more laymen in the church to write books like this one. For a lot of laity and churchmen, it just hasn’t hit them how much of a cultural revolution there has been. The church now never gets the benefit of the doubt.

Why are the church’s contributions ignored or disregarded?

Woods: The opinion-makers in the United States tend to be agnostic or atheist, or at least not in the Christian tradition. Ever since the Enlightenment, there’s been an attempt on the part of non-Christian intellectuals to claim for themselves all the accomplishments of the West. All you have to do is look at the European Union constitution. It doesn’t mention a word about the Christian foundations of Europe. All you have to do is walk down any European street and look at a cathedral. They can’t acknowledge it. But what do they acknowledge? The ancient world and the Enlightenment. So there’s been this prejudice ever since the term Middle Ages was coined, suggesting the church doesn’t owe anything to that past.

Ann Coulter: Gitmo-A-Go-Go

I guess Bush should have backed Katherine Harris, after all. Sen. Mel Martinez, the Senate candidate Bush backed instead of Harris, has become the first Republican to call for shutting down Guantanamo. Martinez hasn't said where the 500 or so suspected al Qaeda operatives currently at Gitmo should be transferred to, but I understand the Neverland Ranch might soon be available.

Maybe Sen. Arlen Specter—the liberal Republican Bush backed instead of conservative Pat Toomey, which still didn't help Bush in Pennsylvania—will step forward to defend the Bush administration. That Karl Rove is a genius.Martinez explained his nonsensical call for the closing of Guantanamo by asking: "Is it serving all the purposes you thought it would serve when initially you began it, or can this be done some other way a little better?

There are terrorists locked up at Guantanamo, no? Admittedly, not enough. (And not under what any frequent flier would describe as "harsh conditions.") Still and all, terrorists are locked up there. That is what we call a "purpose."By becoming a focus of evil for human rights groups, Martinez suggested, Guantanamo has become a recruiting tool for al Qaeda: "It's become an icon for bad stories, " Martinez said, "and at some point you wonder the cost-benefit ratio." (I've been wondering the same thing about Mel Martinez.)

This is preposterous. NBC's "The West Wing" is an icon for bad stories, Gitmo is a place where we keep an eye on evil, dangerous people who want to kill us.Martinez was borrowing a point from Sen. Joe Biden—which is always a dangerous gambit because you never know who said it originally. The "Biden" version was: "I think more Americans are in jeopardy as a consequence of the perception that exists worldwide with its existence than if there were no Gitmo."

So if people around the world believe that if they try to kill Americans they might go to a bad, scary place called Guantanamo, that will make them more likely to kill Americans? How about doing a cost-benefit ratio on that analysis?
(Read the whole column at Human Events Online.)

Henry Hyde comes through again.

From David R. Sands in The Washington Times comes the story of what would be the only effective wake up call for the kleptocrats of New York's peculiar institution.

The Bush administration warned Congress yesterday to drop a threat to withhold dues to the United Nations as a way to spur reform of the world body, saying the tactic would prove counterproductive.

The dues threat is the centerpiece of a wide-ranging U.N. overhaul bill that the House of Representatives began debating yesterday afternoon.

The bill -- co-sponsored by House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican -- would hold up to half of the U.S. annual payment to the world body if more than three dozen administrative and management reforms are not adopted.

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns called the provision "unacceptable."

"It would diminish our effectiveness and not allow us to play the leading role that we need to play on reform," he said.

The administration stopped short of a veto threat on a bill that faces uncertain prospects, but the White House echoed Mr. Burns, releasing a list of objections to the Hyde bill.

The United States is the largest single contributor to the United Nations, paying nearly a quarter of the world body's $2 billion regular operating budget and 27 percent of its peacekeeping costs.

Supporters of the Hyde bill argued on the House floor yesterday that the dues threat was the only way to get the United Nations' attention in the wake of scandals such as the Iraq oil-for-food program and abuses by U.N. peacekeeping troops.

"Yes, this is radical surgery, but sometimes it is the only way to save the patient," Mr. Hyde said.

With all due respect Mr. Bush, go back to fighting the war and leave the rest to the conservatives like Mr. Hyde.

Adopt an embryo, save a life.

Speaking as an Adult Embryonic-American, I'm damn glad to be here.

In politics, it always helps to put a face on a cause.

Opponents of embryonic stem-cell research also have found their face -- 21 of them. They are the children who helped President Bush show what a frozen embryo has the potential to become.

"The children here today remind us that there is no such thing as a spare embryo," Mr. Bush said last month at the White House.

The embryos that would become these children were created through in vitro fertilization and placed in frozen storage. They were donated by couples who no longer needed them and implanted into a woman who became their mother.

So far, 81 "snowflake" babies have been born through embryo adoption, the president said.

"We hear a lot of rhetoric that these are just clumps of cells," said David Prentice, a senior fellow at the conservative Family Research Council. "The snowflake kids are very effective in showing that they are very young humans that need to be given their chance for development."

Over the past two decades, since the first "test-tube baby" was born, an estimated 400,000 frozen embryos have accumulated in more than 400 fertility clinics across the country. What to do with those frozen embryos has become a matter of intense debate.
(Thanks to the AP via The Washington Times)

I'll bet you $20 he gets an NEA grant.

Artist re-enacts 9/11 Twin Towers jumps

CHICAGO -- Performance artist Kerry Skarbakka, wearing a business suit and safety harnesses, jumped repeatedly from a museum roof to create photographs that recall scenes from the World Trade Center attack, drawing scorn from some onlookers and victims' relatives.

Mr. Skarbakka, 34, fell more than 30 times from the five-story Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesday. He said he started thinking about falling after watching on television as people jumped to their deaths from the Twin Towers on September 11.

"What kind of a sick individual is he? Tell him to go jump off the Empire State Building and see how it feels," Rosemarie Giallombardo, whose son Paul Salvio died in the terrorist attack, told the New York Daily News. "He's an artist? Go paint a bowl of fruit or something."

I know it is difficult to be outraged continuously by fools like this "artist", but this is why you should be.

Come to think of it, constantly outraging people with ever-increasing eruptions of bad taste and offensive acts might tend to desensitize people to this sewage and thus enable the bad guys to dominate the culture.

Golly, if I was a cultural totalitarian this is just the sort of subversive tactic I would use to swamp the real culture with my politically motivated filth.

I wonder why the Leninist-Leninist's haven't thought of...hey, wait a minute!

Mexico: Trotsky murder weapon reappears?

From UPI (via The Washington Times):

The murder weapon that was buried in the forehead of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky may have emerged after missing for 65 years. A relative of the secret policeman who investigated Trotsky's death says she has the ice-pick -- and it's still stained with Trotsky's blood, Infobae newspaper reported.

Trotsky was killed in August 1940 by a Spanish Soviet agent, Ramon Mercader, while living in exile in Mexico City.

The Russian revolutionary had played an instrumental role in helping overthrow Russia's Tsar and creating the Soviet Union.

However Trotsky was forced into exile after loosing a power struggle to eventual Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Seva Volkov, Trotsky's grandson, said he was willing to have the blood on the ice-pick tested to see if it was his grandfather's, but would not pay for the murder weapon.

I know nobody cares about stuff like this.
I do.

Catholic Bishops renew their opposition to death penalty

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting on the first day of a three-day meeting at Chicago's Fairmont Hotel, voted unanimously to craft a new theological statement opposing the death penalty to replace a 25-year-old one.

Several bishops said public sentiment against the death penalty, especially among active Catholics, has increased greatly in recent years and that the USCCB should prepare a statement for use as a short insert in church bulletins.

"Some Catholics do not know and are confused by the church's teaching," said Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, N.Y. "Sometimes it is oversimplified or dismissed."

I humbly offer my help to our bishops in endind the confusion over the death penalty. Here is Luke 23:39-43:

And one of those robbers who were hanged blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing; thou art under the same condemnation?
And we indeed justly: for we receive the due reward of our deeds. But this man hath done no evil.
And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.
And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

God Himself and St. Dismas (The Good Thief) have no problem with the state applying the death penalty. Why do you?

Apathy shadows Iranian election...

...because they know what a real election looks like.

You'd be apathetic too if you 1) remembered what Iran used to be 2) realized what it is now and 3) saw your neighbors voting like only free men can.

From The Boston Globe:

Iranians vote for a new president today after a short, lackluster campaign that often seemed less about who would win than about how many people would bother to cast ballots. Even so, the voting could lead to a dramatic showdown between hard-liners and reformers.

Over the past two years, the unelected Islamic clerics who hold the real power in Iran have bludgeoned the liberalization program of outgoing President Mohammad Khatami, and few people appear to believe his successor will fare any better.

The apparent front-runner in a field of seven candidates is former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a politically cagey member of the original Islamic revolutionary leadership who is trying to reposition himself as a moderate. Most observers think neither Rafsanjani nor the chief reformist candidate will win outright. That could set up a tense runoff at the end of next week in which Iranians will either endorse Khatami's thwarted reformist efforts or bow to the conservative Islamic rule under which they have lived for the past 26 years.

The clerics excluded virtually everyone who advocated greater personal freedoms from running for Parliament last year, and religious conservatives now firmly control the legislature. The religious leadership has forced about 100 independent newspapers to close. Disillusion with Islamists and reformers alike is widespread and open.

''Why do we have to vote?" asked Jawad A., a construction worker who attended a rally for Rafsanjani on the closing night of the campaign and declined to give his full name. ''The officials, the leaders don't care about us," Jawad added, complaining of broken promises, extreme unemployment, and deprivation in his hometown of Khorram Shahr. He said he would not vote even if Khatami, for whom he voted four years ago, was running because ''he did nothing."

What's the definition of an Iranian moderate?
A religious fanatic who'll kill you quickly!
(Thank you. I'll be here all week!)

Scriptural Snippets

In the same Spirit as yesterday's offering, I bring you Jeremias 1:4-5.

In case you were wondering about the Douay Rheims Bible, this is from the title page of the original edition of 1582:

"The New Testament of Jesus Christ translated faithfully into English, out of the authentical Latin, according to the best corrected copies of the same, diligently conferred with the Greek and other editions in divers languages. With Arguments of Books and Chapters, annotations, and other necessary helps for the better understanding of the text, and specially for the discovery of the corruptions of divers late translations, and for clearing the controveries in religion of these days..."

The translation to English was done by Catholics who had fled England in fear of the new church there begun by Henry VIII, who was a heretic, schismatic, and mass murderer.

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings

Today we honor St. Teresa of Portugal. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading is 2 Corinthians 11:18, 21-30.
Today's Gospel reading is Matthew 6:19-23 .

Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful;O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.

St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.

Prayer to Saint Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

SPC Jorge Estrada: Requiescat in pace

This is from Major K.'s blog:

Tonight, I write with a very heavy heart. In a war you expect to lose people. It is a hazard of the job for which you prepare yourself from the beginning. It might be someone in the unit that you don't know, someone that you do know, or it may even be you. You keep that knowledge with you always, so that you may soldier on when it happens. You expect it from all of the arhabi's dirty tricks; IED's, ambushes, suicide bombers, etc. You do not expect it from street punks while you are home on leave. The NightStalkers lost a very good man last night. Specialist Jorge Estrada was murdered while home on leave for the birth of his daughter. The loss of this fine Soldier is not just a loss to his family, the NightStalkers and the Army, but a loss to the American People. To say he was a good man is putting it too lightly. I had the good fortune to work closely with Specialist Estrada for several months when I was also the Communications Officer for the Battalion. He impressed me right from the beginning. The picture above was taken after we had just scored 20 out of 20 on the short-range marksmanship range in Texas during our pre-deployment training.

Jorge was a great Soldier and communications specialist. He was the total package; tough, disciplined, cheerful, a good marksman, and one of the few guys in the commo section that could work wonders with both encrypted radios and computers. I was telling our Operations Officer, Major D. tonight at dinner that he was the type of soldier that if every one in the unit was like him, a leader would never have any problems. Major D. responded that if one tenth of your soldiers were like him, that would still be the case. He made everyone around him better, just by example, and without fanfare or flamboyance. He was the consummate quiet professional. He never complained, usually because he was too busy cracking jokes while getting the job done.

Jorge joined the Army several years ago, originally serving with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan. After coming home intact from one combat tour, he joined the National Guard with plans to attend college. These plans were sidetracked when the NightStalkers needed to plug gaps in our ranks before going to Iraq. Jorge answered when the call went out across the California Guard for volunteers. He performed well at all times and always kept us talking. He was indispensible to me in setting up a local area network (LAN) when most of the aging Guardsmen in the Communications section, while being whizzes with radios, were not up to speed on computers and network architecture. We spent many long days and nights working together getting everything up and running.

He was also the quality of man that his killer could never be. Recently married, Jorge was home on leave for the birth of his daughter, who is now 5 days old. His wife had another daughter from a previous relationship with the killer, that Jorge was raising as his own. He was that type of guy. He did right by his woman, right by his kids, even when they weren't his, and right by his country. He went above and beyond the call in every regard. I know that had he perceived a threat from this scumbag that sucker-shot him, I would not be writing this post now, because that scumbag would be in the hospital or jail, and Specialist Estrada would still be enjoying his leave with his wife and daughters.

He was expected back here in the sandbox about two weeks from now. I will miss him as will all of us here. I pray that he rests well in Heaven, that his family finds peace, and that his murderer receives swift and severe justice. Authorities ask that anyone with information about Fabian Cayetano Urrea's whereabouts call 911 or the Murrieta Police Department at (951) 696-3615.

Or just hold him for me until I get home....

To some men, human life is cheap. This truth transcends age, race, wealth, religion, and power. We can all take some comfort in the fact that Spc. Estrada was a better kind of man than his murderer or the men against whom he waged war.

May God have mercy on his brave soul, and may He bless and protect Jorge's family.

Blog of the Day

365 and a Wakeup is brought to you by thunder6 from old Babylon.

Shoes and candy go a long way Over There.

Meanwhile something altogether unheard of was occurring... the children were self organizing. For a moment entropy stopped in its tracks and that rarest of creatures, good order, seemed to spontaneously appear. It was if a phoenix was rising from its own chaotic ashes - its every feather in perfect alignment. And surprisingly the children remained patient as SPC Rivers pulled out the box of sandals. By time the box was empty all the children were proudly parading around in their new sandals, stopping every few steps to admire their feet like little hens. The troops spent a few more minutes conversing with the heads of the household before moving back toward their vehicles. The children followed in a giggling, smiling group to see the soldiers off.

But the giving wasn't over. As the children approached the vehicles the gunners who had been providing security reached into their turrets and pulled out bags of candy. Each gunner grabbed enormous handfuls of candy and tossed them in long parabolic arcs towards the kids. Before the first handful had even reached the ground any semblance of order was gone. If you have ever been at a children's birthday and seen the wild abandon with which children attack a pinata then you know exactly what I mean.

There's also this update on SGT Ferguson:

Sgt. Ferguson has slowly improved and was recently moved from Bethesda Medical Center to a veterans facility in Palo Alto, California. But his ordeal, and that of his family and friends, is far from over. While we labor to rebuild a country, they labor to rebuild a life. Our jobs may be a little more dangerous, but theirs is just as difficult. Please keep them in your prayers.

Why We Fight.

Thanks to Lance In Iraq for the heads up.

The story of the victims who jumped to their deaths is the most sensitive aspect of the Sept. 11 tragedy. Photographs of people falling to their deaths shocked the nation. Most newspapers and magazines ran only one or two photos, then published no more. USA TODAY ran one photo Nov. 16.
Still, the images resonate. Many who survived or witnessed the attack say the sight of victims jumping is their most haunting memory of that day.
It was worse than people realize.

USA TODAY estimates that at least 200 people jumped to their deaths that morning, far more than can be seen in the photographs taken that morning. Nearly all were from the north tower, which was hit first and collapsed last. Fewer than a dozen were from the south tower.

The jumping started shortly after the first jet hit at 8:46 a.m. People jumped continuously during the 102 minutes that the north tower stood. Two people jumped as the north tower began to fall at 10:28 a.m., witnesses said.

For those who jumped, the fall lasted 10 seconds. They struck the ground at just less than 150 miles per hour — not fast enough to cause unconsciousness while falling, but fast enough to ensure instant death on impact. People jumped from all four sides of the north tower. They jumped alone, in pairs and in groups.

The abuse of eminent domain.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments about whether or not you can keep you own property.

The specific case has to do with the city of New London, Connecticut, which wants to condemn some private property so that private developers can build an office facility. The city claims it has the right to take property under eminent domain for the sole purpose of increasing tax revenue. The owner of the property, obviously, has his own arguments against such a move.

In the course of the trial, Justice O’Connor asked the city's attorney, “If a city wanted to size property in order to turn a Motel 6 intro a Ritz-Carlton, would that be OK?” The city’s response, “Yes, it would be.”

Said the totalitarian to the rest of us.

According to the most recent estimates, there are 10,000 cases in America every year where private property is taken, either by being condemned or by the threat of being condemned, and then turned over to private developers.

But the principle of private property is founded on the principle that property belongs to someone, not the government. When powerful interests have the power to use the government to take property away for the “greater good” of us all, what rights are protected?

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the city, it could bode ill for businesspeople and property owners alike nationwide. The floodgates will open and state and local governments will be free to take private property and give it to someone else. The government will be able to do what it wants with your property for the “... (Thanks to WND)

This nonsense is everywhere. Look around. They may be taking your property.

Another step toward ending WWII.

A senior Russian official has angered the country’s nationalists by announcing that Moscow is close to agreeing the return of art “appropriated” by the Red Army during the Second World War to eight different European countries.

Mr Anatoly Vilkov, deputy head of the department responsible for protecting Russia’s cultural heritage, said Moscow had already satisfied many of the claims, was actively considering others and had agreed to look at requests that had been hitherto ignored.

“The claims came from Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Ukraine,” he told Interfax.

Controversially Mr Vilkov said that Russia had agreed to return a collection of paintings to the Netherlands which are currently housed in Moscow’s Pushkin Fine Arts Museum.

The collection is reported to include canvasses by Rembrandt, Van Dyke, Rubens and Tintoretto and is valued at up to half a billion dollars. Hungary is to receive a set of extremely rare fifteenth century religious publications and Ukraine four twelfth century church frescoes currently on display at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

He also signalled that Moscow was considering other claims and was willing to be reasonable.

Austria wants 649 fragments of Persian documents taken from the Austrian National Library, Belgium the restitution of forty archives, Greece the return of archives belonging to the Jewish community in Thessaloniki and Luxembourg some archives relating to the Masonic Movement.

Mr Vilkov also made an offer to Germany to return a rare Gutenberg bible estimated to be worth up to $20 million. “If they (the Germans) offer us something of equal historical or artistic value we’ll be happy to exchange it,” he said.

Russia is estimated to be storing 260,000 pieces of “trophy art” acquired by the Red Army, including three million archive items and 1.5 million books.

Some of the disputed items were originally housed in Hitler’s personal museum which was thoroughly emptied by the Soviet Army.

Any moves to return such art remain deeply controversial in Russia, however, where the older generation and Russian nationalists still harbour bitter memories of the terrible physical and moral damage inflicted by the German army, not to mention the huge loss of life.

And the two things are related how? It is time for Russia to put the eighteenth century behind her and take her rightful place among the nations of Christendom.

From The Continuing Protestant Crackup Department:

The United Church of Christ spins crazily out of control and crashes and burns - forever.

A venerable Protestant denomination - at the behest of some of its conservative members - is preparing to vote next month on a measure declaring that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and making it mandatory for clergy to accept his divinity.

It may seem like a slam dunk, but delegates for the 1.3 million-member United Church of Christ may reject the resolution. Several Bergen County pastors, who aren't delegates to the convention, said they expect the measure to fail.

"Religiously speaking, it sounds like apple pie," said the Rev. Raymond Kostulias of the First Congregational Church of Park Ridge. "But there is a judgmental quality to it that implies very strongly that those who do not agree with us are condemned or damned or hopeless - and that's exactly the thing that UCC is against."

Indeed, the United Church of Christ, which traces its independent mind-set back to the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock, is one of the most liberal and non-hierarchical Protestant churches in the nation.

The denomination, in its official statements, accepts Christ as savior and head of the church, but also approves of balancing Christian doctrine with personal conscience.

"If you join the UCC, you are not given a list of things and asked, 'Do you believe in this?' " said the Rev. Sherry Taylor, who represents the New Jersey churches in the denomination's central Atlantic conference. "There are no tests of faith."
(From NorthJersey.com via WND)

Oh, yes, there are, Sherry baby. Just you wait.

Another rap related tragedy.

Mom held in slaying, decapitation of daughter
Woman belonged to cult that worshipped dead rapper Tupac Shakur

A mother who authorities say was a member of a bizarre cult stands accused of drowning her six-year-old daughter, then decapitating the child and dumping her body off a bridge in Washington state.

According to Kings County Sheriff's Department investigators, 30-year-old Samara Spann was a member of a cult that worships the late rap star Tupac Shukar. Investigators say Spann became convinced her daughter Kyeimah was possessed by demons and killed the child on or about December 31, 2004.

Spann reportedly told detectives that after she drowned her daughter in the bathtub of her home in White Center, Washington, she left the house to stay in a motel. After two days she said she went to a hardware store to buy an ax, a chain and a padlock. She told investigators she went back to the house, laid the child's body on a blanket and sheet on the floor and chopped off the head.

According to detectives, after Spann decapitated the child she put the chain and padlock around the body to weight it, placed it in a plastic laundry bin and put it in her car. Police say she drove south from Kings County, eventually stopping and dumping the child's body from a bridge.

From The Joys Of Cultural Diversity Department:

Victim must live as wife with rapist
(Thanks to World Net Daily for the heads up.)

A young Indian woman, allegedly raped by her father-in-law, has been ordered by village elders to live with him as his wife, said a report on Wednesday.

The Asian Age daily newspaper reported that Muslim clerics who served as village elders in Uttar Pradesh, India, decided that the woman's rape by her father-in-law had "nullified" her marriage to her husband.

The 28-year-old woman, the mother of five children, married rickshaw-puller Noor Mohammed about 10 years ago in Charthawal village.

The report said her father-in-law, Ali Mohammed, allegedly raped her while her husband was away at work nearly two weeks ago, but the husband ignored his wife's complaints.

It said the wife had decided to walk out on her husband, but family members pressured her to stay and the matter landed before the council of village elders.

The newspaper said clerics ordered her to stay with her parental family for seven months and 10 days to become "pure" again before taking up her new life as her father-in-law's wife.

It quoted one Muslim cleric as saying that on her return to her home, she would "then be like a mother" to her husband.

Poor American girls, all oppressed and stuff.

From The Dumbass Schools Department:

A medieval knight bearing a crucifix is apparently too offensive for Muslims and others in charge of a Vermont high school, as campus officials try to find a better mascot than the Crusaders for Champlain Valley Union High.

"I believe [the controversy] came from a T-shirt that had a religious symbol on it," Alex Anderson of the CVU's mascot committee told WCAX-TV in Burlington. "Some students thought that was offensive. We're a public school and we're trying to maintain separation of church and state."

How about a little more?

Other schools have done the same.

Wheaton College, the evangelical school in Illinois, was the Crusaders for 70 years but dropped the name in 2000.

Writing to the college community about the decision, President Duane Litfin said, "We are hard-pressed to find anything in these disastrous waves of fighting that our Lord might have approved, despite the fact that the conflict was ostensibly carried out in his name."

More? (From the Seattle Times via WND)

One high school — 44 valedictorians

This year's 406-member graduating class at Garfield High School features 44 valedictorians. Forty-four students with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages who, over seven semesters of mostly honors and Advanced Placement classes, have never earned less than an A.

Even for a school with a reputation as an academic powerhouse, it's a record number: Last year Garfield had 30 valedictorians; the year before, 27.

Skeptics say that so many students with perfect 4.0 GPAs is evidence of grade inflation; admirers say it's the product of smart, hard-working students at a school that encourages academic success.

Either way, the multiple valedictorians at Garfield are reflective of a national trend of rewarding a number of high-achieving students at graduation rather than singling out one.

And nationally, Garfield may be just mid-range. Bullard High School in Fresno, Calif., is graduating 58 valedictorians this year.

"I don't think we're giving away the grades," said Carolyn Barge, Garfield's senior counselor. "These kids are taking every AP and honors class they can get their hands on. They take six classes every semester. They're just amazing kids."

Traditionally the highest-performing student, the valedictorian gives the final address at graduation. But the increasing number of straight-A students has led some schools to abandon the award altogether.

More good news from Italy.

Italians consider trashing euro, returning to lira

Italians, once among the most enthusiastic supporters of a united Europe, are becoming increasingly disillusioned, so much so that some are suggesting that Italy dump the euro and bring back the lira.

Roberto Castelli, the silver-haired Italian justice minister from the Northern League, a major coalition partner in the government of Silvio Berlusconi, said his party will present concrete proposals this week for calling a referendum on ditching the euro.

"Does [the British pound] sterling have no economic foundation because it is outside the euro?" he asked. "Is Denmark living in absolute poverty because it is outside the euro? Are Swedes poor because they are outside the euro?"

Italian discontent with the euro marks the latest crisis to rattle the quest for European unity.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac have been locked in a bitter public feud ahead of European budget summit this week and the Continent is reeling from the rejection of a proposed constitution by French and Dutch voters.

A chain of Tuscan supermarkets has been enjoying a surge in business after pledging to accept the lira alongside the euro, cashing in on Italians who blame the single currency for rising prices and a slumping economy.

Slowly but surely, reality sets in.

You know The Church is in trouble when...

...it pays out more than $1 billion to victims of homosexual priests.

America's Roman Catholic bishops will keep their pledge to protect children from sexually abusive priests as they revise their discipline plan for offenders, a key prelate said at a national church meeting Thursday.
Bishops overseeing a review of the three-year-old policy have recommended that dioceses continue permanently barring guilty clergy from all church work. Some Catholic leaders have been concerned that the punishment is too severe.

"No one wants to permit children to be abused in the church," said Chicago Cardinal Francis George, who lead a team of U.S. bishops who worked with Vatican officials on the revisions. "It's a source of great shame for all of us, a source of scandal for the faithful and for the world."

The bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse spent months soliciting comment on the policy."Overall there was definite expression that the `one-strike' policy needs to be retained for now," the committee wrote in recommendations presented Thursday.

Still, the panel noted that "many, perhaps a majority," of prelates hoped that they could eventually allow men who are truly rehabilitated back into ministry - an idea victims vehemently oppose.

The bishops are expected to discuss and vote on the revisions Friday.
Church leaders adopted the discipline plan, called the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, in June 2002, with the mandate that it be revisited after two years. The policy remained in effect though the review concluded later than planned.

The original charter was drafted as scandal was consuming the church. Catholics were demanding bishops resign, state prosecutors were convening grand juries to investigate and hundreds of new abuse claims were pouring in.

Bishops were desperate to restore trust in their leadership, and some Catholic leaders said the due process rights of priests were sacrificed in the process.

They complained the charter violated Catholic belief in redemption and forgiveness, and dictated a draconian, one-size-fits-all response for cases they said varied dramatically.

Victims countered that bishops who had allowed predators to stay in the priesthood could not be trusted to decide whether a clergyman was cured. Hundreds of accused clergy have been removed from the ministry in the last three years, although most of their alleged wrongdoing occurred decades ago.

Scriptual Snippets

That last story reminds me of Isaias 49:15 .

Mrs. Torres didn't forget.

Brain-dead mother lives for unborn child

On the second floor of the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, a 26-year-old woman is battling for a life.

The life is not hers -- on May 7, Susan Torres' brain suddenly ceased to function, to the horror of her husband, Jason Torres, and the medics who rushed to their Alexandria home to try to save her.

Mrs. Torres is now brain-dead as a result of a massive brain hemorrhage that overtook her that night. She also has cancer.

The life everyone is trying to save is that of an unborn child, now in its 20th week of gestation. Mr. Torres says he thinks it's a girl.

"We're battling around whether to name her or not," he says, stroking his wife's still arms as she lies in the intensive-care unit (ICU). Doctors had told him there was no hope, medically, for his wife to recover. But they could keep her alive for the child.

"So I decided we'd try," he said. "I think Susan would've walked through hell to give that child a chance."

In a room right by the ICU nurses' station, Mrs. Torres lies silent, hooked up to food and oxygen tubes. Her blond hair is spread out on a pillow, and pink and green blankets cover her. A rosary is wrapped around her left hand. A scapular -- a religious badge worn by devout Catholics -- is tied around her right wrist.

"Fortunately, a lot of friends are saying a lot of prayers for her," says her physician, Arlington internist Dr. Chris McManus, also a Roman Catholic.
"We're doing her breathing for her, and her heart is still good. The focus is on taking care of any infections that come up. There's a lot of bridges to cross with her. But with technology, we can keep the body alive. How long, we cannot say."

Religious paintings and icons are scattered about the room. Next to the window are two reclining chairs on which Mr. Torres spends the night. He spends about 12 hours at his wife's side, then goes home for a few hours to see the couple's 2-year-old son, Peter.

"He knows she's not around," Mr. Torres says. "He's too young to come into the room. Either he wouldn't recognize her, or he'd recognize her, and that'd be worse. It'd upset him terribly."

If the cancer does not spread rapidly, there's hope. But if it becomes especially virulent, it can shut down Mrs. Torres' body or enter the womb. Or cause a spontaneous abortion. The cancer cannot be treated with radiation because the treatment would kill the child. The earliest doctors think the child can survive outside the womb is 25 weeks, which is mid-July.

Have mercy on her, Lord, and protect her family.

Dick Morris: Personal attacks on Hillary will only embolden her

Washington's least favorite foot fetishist, writing now for The Hill, tells us we better leave Hillary alone even if she's a dyke, because stuff like that has nothing to do with the balance of payments and other really important stuff.

I am no defender of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s, to put it mildly. But the recent charges in Ed Klein’s book to the effect that she is a closet homosexual or that Bill raped her and that this act triggered Chelsea’s conception are as crazy as the list that was circulating around of the 20 or so people the Clintons allegedly had killed.

These accusations do not belong in our public dialogue. They hit below the belt and tend to discredit the more serious and sober concerns so many of us have about the danger she would present in high office.

How can anyone say if the charges are true? Ed Klein is a respected author, a former editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine and the foreign editor for Newsweek. He would not have written these charges without some substantiation. But these accusations (in The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President) are highly personal and have little bearing on what kind of president Hillary would make.

Said the foot fetishist. Am I being too subtle here? Or has it now been proved someone's "personal life" has no effect on the rest of that person's life?

If that's the case, I'd like to see the proof.

Didn't we learn from Hitlery's husband that disordered morality corrupts every part of the man?

Some of us did.

Boys from Africa are being murdered as human sacrifices in London churches.

ThisIsLondon (via Drudge) notes the forces of Antichrist can wear sheep's clothing.

They are brought into the capital to be offered up in rituals by fundamentalist Christian sects, according to a shocking report by Scotland Yard.

Fundamentalist?!? What the hell does that mean here? Is human sacrifice a fundamental tenet of Christianity? These people may call themselves Christians, but there is a point beyond which the word no longer applies. And ritual murder is well beyond that point.

Followers believe that powerful spells require the deaths of "unblemished" male children.
Police believe such boys are trafficked from cities such as Kinshasa where they can be bought for a little as £10.
The report, leaked ahead of its publication next month, also cites examples of African children being tortured and killed after being identified as "witches" by church pastors.
The 10-month study was commissioned after the death of Victoria Climbié, who was starved and beaten to death after they said she was possessed by the devil.

Senator Dick of Illinois thinks he's a real man.

From KWQC (via Drudge) comes word Senator Dick won't apologize for calling Our Boys a bunch of...sorry, it's a family blog.

Senator Dick Durbin says he won't apologize for comments comparing American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Nazis and Soviet gulags.
News of the Democrat's comparison created a buzz around the Internet today, fueled by sound bites of yesterday's Senate floor speech on radio talk shows. By this afternoon, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna asked Durbin to apologize.

Today's updated forecast from Peking.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Shocking footage of crowd control 'Chinese-style' has been obtained by Sky News.

The film shows dozens of hired thugs running amok in a village just 60 miles from the capital Beijing.

Villagers are shown being beaten with long canes while gunfire can be heard in the background.

Six villagers are reported to have died while 50 were injured.

It is the worst footage of violence to emerge from the secretive country since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

The trouble broke out after the hired hands, some wearing helmuts and khakis, moved in to clear land needed by a nearby power station.

Villagers had built trenches and erected tents to protect their land.

(Thanks to Sky News and Drudge.)

Real Nazis then and now.

Some time ago, I commented on the existence of people today whose beliefs and actions are, practically speaking, no different than the German National Socialists and the Soviet Communists of 20th century infamy. I was prompted to do this by the treatment of Terri Schiavo and the propensity of many in public life to use these terms incorrectly. One of the most egregious examples of the latter occurred yesterday when Senator Dick of Illinois compared air conditioned, lemon pepper chicken eating, bath taking, Koran reading, not executed moslem terrorists to the 100 million or so murder victims of the Nazis, Soviets, Pol Pot, and other less accomplished killers of the late, lamented century.

(BTW, have you noticed how nobody ever mentions Mao? Is it because there are plenty of Chinese in the world and nobody would miss sixty million or so? Maybe we do not want to offend the commies who still infest and enslave China. It could be simple racism. Perhaps yellow skins count for less than white ones. This would also help explain Clinton's indifference to the human slaughter in Rwanda. The First Black President ignores the last black genocide of the Century of Mass Murder.)

I promised to find some information on the similarities between yesterday's Nazis and today's. (Who, ironically, are most likely to accuse others of naziism. Wait, that's not irony! That's standard operating procedure.)

Start here with the murder of the sick, infirm, crippled, retarded, and unwanted.

Wartime, Adolf Hitler suggested, "was the best time for the elimination of the incurably ill."

More than 200,000 handicapped people were murdered between 1940 and 1945.
The T-4 program became the model for the mass murder of Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and others in camps equipped with gas chambers that the Nazis would open in 1941 and 1942. The program also served as a training ground for SS members who manned these camps.

Now read about Mae Magouirk's case:

Hospice Patients Alliance has contacted the attorney in the Mae Magouirk case, who is working through the court system. We are not directly involved in the legal proceedings of this case. It has been reported that Mae Magouirk has a living will specifying that she does want treatment, is not ready to have her life ended (she wishes to live), and would not wish to be dehydrated within a hospice! It is striking that the court has chosen to ignore the express wishes of Mae Magouirk in her living will, and appointed as guardian, a granddaughter determined to assure the death of Mae Magouirk. This "wielding of hospice" to end the lives of the vulnerable elderly is a complete violation of Mae's rights as a US citizen and resident of Georgia. The hospice, though apparently following the orders of a court-appointed guardian, has no obligation to participate in the imposed death of a nonterminal patient. In fact, accepting a nonterminal patient into hospice is a violation of the federal regulations governing hospice.And the resolution of the case, if it is to come in time to save Mae, will come through the courts since the granddaughter has been awarded guardianship by the courts, which trumps any power of attorney for health care that other family members have had all along!

Here it comes.

We at Hospice Patients Alliance have not been able to verify whether the facts reported are disputed by the other side in the case, but we do receive regular reports of family members "wielding" hospice (like a gun) to kill off a family member, often when there is money involved or because the individual with power of attorney believes the patient is "better off dead." Those who wish to cause the death of a family member through hospice know that some hospices are more than willing to terminally sedate a patient, inappropriately, and never allow the patient to recover from that terminal sedation, thereby causing their death through dehydration and circulatory collapse. There are easily thousands of similar cases going unreported, all over the USA, whether in hospices or nursing homes using hospices. The misuse of hospice to end the life of a vulnerable person, against their wishes is an abominable violation of everything hospice stands for and is illegal. We hope that the perpetrator of any crime is prosecuted to the full extent of the law. However, where there have been obvious so-called "mercy killings" in the past, the courts have let the killers off with a slap on the wrist. Our nation is fast entering into a full-blown implemenation of the Nazis' policies of killing the mentally incapacitated, the disabled, the very elderly and chronically ill. The courts, and especially those courts involved in guardianship hearings, are regularly not recognizing the Constitutionally guaranteed principle that citizens have a right to live, free of coercion, and free to live until death comes in its own natural timing.

Here is some history from P.J. King:

Present day death proponents of the "right-to-die" movement disavow any analogy between what they are selling and what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930's. And, if one does not examine the facts too closely, there appears to be none. After all, Hitler was bent on exterminating the Jews, even though he destroyed a few thousand others before he found his focus. His was a dictatorship, not a democratic nation. His agenda was political, not moral. He fed on hate, not compassion. And one could add to the list.
However, if we look back to German society of the twenties and thirties, we find a civilized culture not so unlike our own. As a nation, Germany took pride in its art, its culture, and its science. People engaged in business, went shopping, enjoyed their families, followed the news. Genocide did not seem a likely development. But the seeds had already sprouted, though few foresaw into what kind of twisting vines they would soon grow.
In 1920 was published a book titled The Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life, by Alfred Hoche, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Freiburg, and Karl Binding, a professor of law from the University of Leipzig. They argued in their book that patients who ask for "death assistance" should, under very carefully controlled conditions, be able to obtain it from a physician. The conditions were spelled out, and included the submission of the request to a panel of three experts, the right of the patient to withdraw his request at any time, and the legal protection of the physicians who would help him terminate his life. Binding and Hoche explained how death assistance was congruent with the highest medical ethics and was essentially a compassionate solution to a painful problem.
Death assistance, according to the authors, was not to be limited to those who were able or even willing to ask for it. They would have such mercy extended as well to "empty shells of human beings" such as those with brain damage, some psychiatric conditions, and mental retardation, if by scientific criteria the "impossibility of improvement of a mentally dead person" could be proven. The benefits to society would be great, they said, as money previously devoted to the care of "meaningless life" would be channeled to those who most needed it, the socially and physically fit. Germans needed only to learn to evaluate the relative value of life in different individuals.
An opinion poll conducted in 1920 revealed that 73% of the parents and guardians of severely disabled children surveyed would approve of allowing physicians to end the lives of disabled children such as their own. Newspapers, journal articles, and movies joined in shaping the opinion of the German public. The Ministry of Justice described the proposal as one that would make it "possible for physicians to end the tortures of incurable patients, upon request, in the interests of true humanity" (reported in the N.Y. Times, 10/8/33, p. 1, col. 2). And the savings would redound to the German people if money was no longer thrown away on the disabled, the incurable, and "those on the threshold of old age."
A 1936 novel written by Helmut Unger, M.D., further assisted the German people in accepting the unthinkable. Dr. Unger told the story of a physician whose wife was disabled by multiple sclerosis. She asks him to help her die, and he complies. At his trial he pleads with the jurors to understand his honorable motive: "Would you, if you were a cripple, want to vegetate forever?" The jury acquit him in the novel. The book was subsequently made into a movie which, according to research by the SS Security Service, was "favorably received and discussed," even though some Germans were concerned about possible abuses.
With the public now assenting, the question turned from "whether" to "by whom" and "under what circumstances."
The first known case of the application of this now-acceptable proposal concerned "Baby Knauer." The child's father requested of Adolph Hitler himself that his son be allowed death because he was blind, retarded, and missing an arm and a leg. Surely, in his condition, he would be better off dead. Hitler turned the case over to his personal physician, Karl Brandt, and in 1938 the request was granted.

Note the timeline. It did not take long for the killing to start, probably because German society was corrupt and decadent. It had begun to stray from its Christian roots before the modern German nation was created.

The part played by physicians in these murders is especially chilling. Note how old Hippocrates takes another hit.

In the meantime, no law had been passed permitting euthanasia. Rather, at the end of 1939, Hitler signed this letter:
"Reichleader Bouhler and Dr. Med. Brandt are responsibly commissioned to extend the authority of physicians to be designated by name so that a mercy death may be granted to patients who, according to human judgment, are incurably ill according to the most critical evaluation of the state of their disease."
Interestingly, physicians were not ordered to participate, but merely permitted to if they so wished. It was to be a private matter between the doctor and his patient (or the family if the patient was unable to speak for himself).
Brandt, testifying at his trial in Nuremburg after the war, insisted:
"The underlying motive was the desire to help individuals who could not help themselves and were thus prolonging their lives in torment. ... To quote Hippocrates today is to proclaim that invalids and persons in great pain should never be given poison. But any modern doctor who makes so rhetorical a declaration without qualification is either a liar or a hypocrite. ... I never intended anything more than or believed I was doing anything but abbreviating the tortured existence of such unhappy creatures."
Brandt's only regret was that the dead patients' relatives may have been caused pain. Yet he justified even that: "I am convinced that today they have overcome their distress and personally believe that the dead members of their families were given a happy release from their sufferings." (A. Mitcherlich & F. Mielke, The Death Doctors, pp. 264-265.)

If you don't believe me or the few sources I have cited from the internet, go to the horse's mouth. If you can read German, the Nazis' files on their euthanasia campaign can be found here, thanks to the efficiency of the East German secret police.

Whatever happened to...

...golfer Andy Bean?

Website of the Day

Jazzology.com sells real jazz, the kind your grandparents or great-grandparents knew and loved. It's the kind of music you should get to know before it's gone forever.

Mr. George H. Buck, Jr. has dedicated his life to playing, preserving, and loving America's Music.

Gadget of the Day

Check out MonkeyHook.com . They make a gadget that allows you to hang up to fifty pounds on your wall without tearing it up.

Battle of the Day

I apologize for missing yesterday's 61st anniversary of the Battle of Saipan.

May God have mercy on the souls of all the brave men who fought there.

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings

Today we honor St. Colman McRhoi, 6th century abbot and disciple of St. Columba. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading is 2 Corinthians 11:1-11 .
Today's Gospel reading is Matthew 6:7-15 .

Everyday links:
The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful;O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me.Amen.

St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.
Prayers from EWTN

Prayer to Saint Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)

About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.


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