Friday, November 08, 2002
This will be it for today. I sliced a finger open at lunch, and am having a hard time typing (not that you would notice a difference, as I'm a terrible typist anyway).
On this day in 1974, when this scribe was a mere slip of a lad of 10, America's most influential artist of the 20th century, Norman Rockwell died. Looking back and around him, he captured on canvas (and famously on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post) what America was like. He depicted innocence and basic decency, faith, humor, holiday merriment. His The Four Freedoms, along with Frank Capra's Why We Fight series, help define our war effort in the 1940s. His Saturday Evening Post Santa Claus covers furthered the work of Sundblom and Nast in perpetuatiing one timeless and unchanging image of Good Saint Nick for generations of American children.
His product was indeed art. His creativity, married to traditional, normative themes and techniques inspired, taught, and pleased all who beheld them. There was much more substance to his work than there is to Thomas Kinkaide's. The Frank Capra of painting served his country and its society well. Treat yourself this holiday weekend, and peruse his works at the Rockwell Gallery Collection. If you find yourself in western Massachusetts, visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.
UN Security Council votes 15-0 to support the Iraq resolution. Now the assets can be put in place, while the inspections go forward.
Ann Coulter is often terrific. Yesterday, she was in the zone.
Democrats may be forced to shut down operations as a party and re-enter politics under a different name. The party formerly known as "the Democratic Party" will henceforth be doing business under the name "the Abortion Party."
That would have the virtue of honesty. Love of abortion is the one irreducible minimum of the Democratic Party. Liberals don't want to go to war with Saddam Hussein, but they do want to go to war to protect Roe v. Wade.
Inasmuch as George Bush rather than Barbra Streisand will be picking our federal judges, even now liberals are sharpening their character assassination techniques. People for the American Way – representing Americans up and down the Malibu beachfront – are already lining up lying Anita Hills to accuse Bush's judicial nominees of lynching blacks and burning crosses.
Right on, Ann.
I have a number of work projects I need to finish off this morning. I may have something this afternoon. It is a light news morning, anyway.
Thursday, November 07, 2002
Former President Bill Clinton, campaigning in Florida with gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride, took time out to eat at a local restaraunt. A pretty lady caught Clinton's eye, so he dispatched McBride to ask the lady to join them for a drink. The lady's date became upset and made a scene, which is why we know about the story.
With all the trouble that his overactive libido has caused, one would think the saltpeter which they must be lacing his every meal with would be keeping him out of new trouble. But I suppose compulsive behavior is what it is.
Saved us the expense of a trial.
Courtesy of the Boston Globe.
With this scribe still basking in the glow of Tuesday's better-than-a-Super-Bowl-win election outcome, the weather forecast is saying that we in New England are due for some Indian Summer weather this weekend. About time for some mild weather. It has been about 10 degrees below normal for more than 3 weeks.
Max Boot, writing originally for the Washington Post, and carried in FrontPage Magazine, writes about what makes Special Operations soldiers "special."
The Globe covers Walter Cardinal Kaspar's remarks of warning that anti-Semitism is on the increase world wide. He is correct, especially in Europe. Synagogues in France and elsewhere were attacked and burned in the last year, to the fatuous assertions of the governments concerned that the attacks had nothing to do with either terrorist or anti-Semitism.
Here in the US, the real haven for anti-Semitism is in the Black Muslim community. The day after September 11th, I heard two people who identified themselves as Nation of Islam members blaming Israel or "the Jews" for the attack (when it was obviously their own putative co-religionists). Sure there are anti-Jewish attitudes elsewhere. But the people who are most vocal about it today (and never challenged on it by the media) are black Moslems.
As Catholic Christians, we have a duty to love our Jewish neighbors, and pray for them. Our Church, despite what the US bishops think, has an institutional duty to bring all men, including the Jews, to Christ by gentle means. Let us hope that the Church begins to take that responsibility more seriously, and designs some carefully crafted appeals that will win Jewish (and protestant, and Hindu, and Moslem, and Buddhist, and atheist, and pagan, and Wiccan) converts. The Church has been very lax in this regard for 50 or more years. Living together and cooperating in a civil society does not mean that all efforts at proselytizing must cease. Love's highest form is gentle persuasion to the better way.
Even-handed Fox News won the election night cable ratings battle, besting the Clinton News Network each hour during the coverage. As WBZ radio host Paul Sullivan likes to say, MSNBC remained a good place for an on-air murder : there would be no witnesses.
This time, it is the dream of Rep. Richard Gephardt to someday be Speaker of the House that is going up in flames. Having led the opposition House Democrats to the ignominious fate of actually losing seats in the mid-term election, he has announced that he will not seek the position of House Minority Leader. Some are suggesting that Senator Tom Daschle, whose similarly failed "leadership" in the Senate also led Senate Democrats to losses in the mid-term, also step aside. Nancy Pelosi, who may succeed Gephardt, is an even more extreme liberal. So under her leadership, Democrats can expect more of the same, only worse. The Boston Globe has details here.
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
The equities markets are going to soar this afternoon. The Fed cut the rate 50 basis points.
But this one brings a smile to the face, too. The Vatican is all but confirming that the directive it is working on regarding admission to the seminary will ban homosexuals. The Boston Herald has the predictable howls of outrage from the gay community.
Because it turned out that their own party chairman, McAuliffe, was one of the greediest piglets at the teats of dead sow Global Crossing.
"Tonight was a good night for Democrats" Terry McAuliffe, DNC Chairman on CNN Larry King 11/05/02
Well, if you think that party really needed a good enema, he may be right.
A Palestinian shot and killed two Israelis in the Gaza Strip.
Johnson may have come out on top by 527 votes. But with all the vote fraud on the Indian reservations, who can be sure? I think Thune will challenge the result.
What a line-up: David Horowitz, Pete du Pont, Mark Levin, David Limbaugh, college conservative newspaper collegue Laura Ingraham, and Manchester Union Leader columnist Bernadette Malone.
And David Frum has joined the staff at NRO.
More blogging by 8:00 am than most bloggers do all day.
It has been a very secular day here so far. But what do you expect the day after Election Day?
I have to get some work done, and then maybe sleep a little (three hours just isn't enough).
That Chief Justice William Rehnquist will be tendering his resignation after this term. His service has been long and very distinguished, especially in the days when he was a lone conservative dissenter in the 1970s. He has earned a happy retirement to his farm in Vermont. With a Republican majority in the Senate, he can now step down with the prospect of being replaced by an equally conservative jurist.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is said to be harboring similar thoughts. Wouldn't it be ironic if Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owens, recently rejected for a Federal Circuit Court vacancy on a partisan vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee, replaced O'Connor?
The media was very reluctant to call this election for the Republicans. By 9:00 pm, the headlines should have been "Big Night For the GOP," and "Will Any Democrats Survive?" VNS was an amazing weenie on its exit polling, most of which seems to have been accurate, except in North Carolina. Even Fox kept the "Trading Seats" headline up much too long. Drudge went to the "Republicans Smell Senate" headline by 10:30. Reporting on governorships like Vermont was just about non-existent.
I know the media blew it big time in 2000. But this time, the reluctance to say that Republicans were having a banner night was very noticeable, and very much of a piece with known media prejudices.
No Republican anywhere will want President Bush to stay out of their state in 2004. In fact, there may be fist fights in scheduling his campaign appearances. For a guy with no coattails, he sure pulled a lot of Republicans along, without even being on the ballot.
Campaigning by President Bush, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain certainly had an impact. But what really turned the country on the Democrat Party was the disgusting political orgy they made out of the "memorial service" for Paul Wellstone. That spectacle really turned people off. That it backfired is obvious. Callers to Rush last week were outraged to a degree seldom seen even in the hot-button environment of talk-radio.
Sadly, one of the chief culprits, Iowa's Senator Tom Harkin was handily re-elected.
Bill Clinton's jovial demeanor, captured in photos seen around the country, has put yet another nail into his legacy's coffin. We are going to have to start calling him "The Amazing Shrinking Ex-President."
I think the state's finances will take cae of themselves as the national economy improves. But Romney has a huge job ahead re-building the Massachusetts Republican Party. Over the last 12 years, three Republican governors (Weld, Cellucci, and Swift) refused to be bothered to make the effort to build the party from the grass roots. They stocked their administrations with turncoat Democrats with no idealogical convictions (the party of permanent office holders).
Of the forty state senators, 6 are Republicans. Of the 160 state representatives, just over a dozen are Republicans. Republicans hold no state-wide offices other than the governorship. The entire congressional delegation is Democrat. At the city and town level, there is very little in the way of Republican talent coming up. The Democrats' bench strength (selectmen, city councilors, town meeting members, and school commiteemen) is awesome. The average age of registered Massachusetts Republicans is well up in the 60s. The city and town committee membership is even older. Time to step up to the plate and figure out how to rebuild a party, or scrap it and create a new one.
Good luck, Mitt.
I have been one of Karl Rove's biggest critics. It has always seemed to me that he was the political equivalent of the "prevent defense" NFL coach. I much prefer the Lee Atwater approach (push hot-button wedge issues that cut conservative like patriotism and the flag, the war, immigration, affirmative action, English as the national language, gay marriage and nationalize the election at the state and district level).
But Rove is looking mighty good today. If he planned this, it was a masterpiece.
The only downside, as I mentioned before, is that the Republicans that have been elected are much less conservative than the 1980 and 1994 crowds.
That a House of Pancakes in Western Massachusetts now has two applicants for the open hostess job, Jane Swift and Shannon O'Brien. Even Chuck Hunt is looking for a job. And the improving economy may help him.
The American people sent a message of unity to Saddam and the rest of the world, without being directly asked by the President to do so (in those terms). It was a massive "Up Yours" to France, Germany, and the Palestinians.
Of course victory is seldom as complete as it appears to be at first. While the Republican Party will control the Senate, the Republican contingent there will be less conservative than it has been. Gone will be iron-hearted idealogical champions like Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, and Phil Gramm. John Cornyn, Liddy Dole, and Lindsey Graham are bound to be less reliably conservative than those stalwarts. And in fact there are very few 90%+ ACU/Right To Life people among the Republican winners.
But it is good enough for now.
But there was a song in my heart as we walked to the train this morning. I was whistling a medley of The British Grenadiers, The Wild Rover, Heart of Oak, and Happy Days Are Here Again.
But very narrowly. If Gray-out Doofus still has plans for a place on the Democrat ballot in 2004 or 2008, he needs to do better than he did against Simon's admittedly inept campaign.
While we are talking about defeats, the governorships of Pennsylvania and Oklahoma appear to have gone to the Democrats. The most painful was the election of aggressive pro-abortion "Catholic" Jennifer Granholm as Governor of Michigan.
Republican Jim Douglas appears to have won the governorship of Vermont. He is leading by 3% over Democrat Doug Racine. In New England, that means just Maine has a Democrat governor. This puts a little pressure on Benedict Arnold Jeffords and Pat Leahy to watch their blood pressures.
I don't think I would want to be invested in Vermont dairy futures for the next couple of years. We're coming after Jeffords and all that traitor holds dear.
According to the front page of Boston.com, the Republicans have netted a gain of 6 seats in the House (229 against the Democrats' 205). They also admit 52 Republican senators (to 47 Democrats and 1 independent). That concedes defeat in Minnesota and South Dakota.
This could be a banner day in the equities markets. But be careful, if they don't. I think the markets have already priced in a 25 basis point cut. If they are disappointed, there could be a sell-off after 2:15. If so, we will know that it has more to do with interest rates than with the election outcome.
John Thune is leading Senator Tim Johnson in South Dakota by 1%. This one is still not decided. If Thune wins, he becomes Republican senator no. 52. And that leaves the outcome of the Louisiana runoff next month which just might produce number 53. A defection (and at this point I think it more likely that John Breaux will cross the aisle than that John Chafee or Susan Collins will) would only add to that.
Norm Coleman is leading Walter Mondull 50%-47%. If Coleman wins, that would make 51 Republicans (Senator-elect Jim Talent in Missouri made 50).
Reversing historic trends, the Republicans saw a net gain of at least one seat in the US Senate (with two others likely and a runoff in Louisiana in December) taking control of that chamber. The US House of Representatives appears to be even more firmly in the grip of the Republican Party, which won at least 219 seats. Meanwhile the governorships of New York, Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Alaska, and Maryland either turned Republican or will remain in Republican hands. In California, there has been no winner declared in the gubernatorial contest between Governor Gray-out Doofus and Bill Simon. UPI has more details here.
It is really hard to stop savoring this, but I get up in 4 hours. Allard has pulled it out, according to the AP.
From the 21-year-old bottle.
But here is where we stand
GOP pick-up Georgia
Dem pick-up Arkansas
Likely GOP pick-ups: Minnesota and Missouri
The Democrats are not beating Wayne Allard in Colorado. So if all holds, the Republicans have a net gain of two seats. That gives them 51 seats. Winning December's run-off in Louisiana would be icing on the cake. Then if some Democrat senator from a state with a Republican governor assumes room temperature, or if a John Breaux or a Zell Miller decides he wants to stay in the majority party and that he really doesn't have that much in common with his fellow Democrats anyway, the majority grows further.
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Who knew Jean Shaheen would flop? Sununu.
Jean Jean the Taxing Machine, Goodbye.
And Wayne Allard is holding on. If he retains his seat, and trends in Missouri hold, that gives the GOP the 50-50 split. We already have picked up one seat (Georgia) and lost one seat (well Arkansas isn't official, but it might as well be) Minnesota then could give the GOP a 51-49 split. South Dakota is still too close to call. Thune is behind but may yet pull it out. Then Louisiana could give us a cushion in case Chafee decides to pull a Jeffords. By the time the dust settles, it could be 52-47-1, or 51-48-1.
Could it get better? If the good die young, Ted Kennedy could live forever. But his liver has got to give out sometime. And Massachusetts will have a Republican governor.
With about half the votes counted. We are winning the governorship of South Dakota.
The election nights of 1992, and 1996 were not much fun. In fact, they were downright miserable. I wasn't smiling much in 1982, or 1986. Of course, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1994 were terrific. The last presidential election turned out to be excellent, but it took a month to get the final result. The Senate races were a disappointment. I had a bottle of champagne and a cigar ready then, and fell asleep with earphones over my ears long before either could be used. Tonight seems to be just fine. But it all depends upon Minnesota, Colorado, and a few other races.
This one is a moment to savor. A Kennedy has been defeated. It was in Maryland, not Massachusetts, but it is still sweet. A cigar might be in order on this count alone.
But you can be sure that Alaska's Ted Stevens will be back for another term.
With about 12% of the vote in, Coleman is leading Mondull 51-44. If he takes it, that switches the control of the Senate regardless of what happens in Louisiana.
I'm getting a whole lot of nothing out of Colorado's election returns.
But I hate it when the local media go wall-to-wall with concession and victory speeches. They are doing it now with the Romney-O'Brien race. I would much rather get up-to-the-second results from around the country than listen to the local speeches.
That is what you get when you divorce your wife to marry your assistant. Tacky. Tacky. No Bottom. No more Senator Hutchinson. There is both a moral and a practical lesson here.
And Jean Carnahan is taking a pasting.
Lindsey Graham has finally started to pull ahead in South Carolina. He had been trailing by about 5,000 votes for most of the night so far.
James Carville on CNN (courtesy of National Review On Line's The Corner);
"Three candidates will let us keep the Senate: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. I'm looking for some positive spin, but I can't find any."
Early returns seem good for Republicans.
Mitt Romney appears to have won the Massachusetts governor's race by a decent margin.
Craig Benson will be the next governor of New Hampshire in something like a landslide.
John Rowland has been re-elected in Connecticut.
Jeb Bush has been re-elected in Florida.
George Pataki has been re-elected in New York.
Rick Perry has been re-elected in Texas.
Bob Ehrlich is ahead of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend with 82% of the vote in. Dare we hope?
We will hold the US House of Representatives, so don't worry about "Speaker Gephardt."
In the all-important New Hampshire Senate race, the media has tried to bury John Sununu several times already, but he is still ahead. This just in: Jean Shaheen has called John Sununu to concede the race.
In Georgia, it looks like Saxby Chambliss will indeed upset Senator Max Cleland. Fox Has just called the race for Chambliss.
Missouri voters seem to be turning Senator Jean Carnahan down in her bid for re-election. Jim Talent has maintained a slim lead there.
It looks like John Cornyn has successfully defended Phil Gramm's seat in Texas.
In South Carolina, Lindsey Graham will probably succeed Strom Thurmond, the the returns currently show Sanders the Democrat in the lead.
In North Carolina, Elizabeth Dole has just been projected the winner in the race to succeed Jesse Helms.
Lautenberg has won in New Jersey. It remains to be seen if he will actually serve, or whether he will now politely step aside so that the Democrat governor can appoint someone to serve in the seat until 2004.
Nothing certain is in yet from Arkansas and Colorado, which we can expect to lose. Minnesota is also not in yet. Coleman may upset Mondale.
Louisiana is heading for a run-off in December, as Senator Landrieu is polling about 44%.
Bilingual education has been rejected in Massachusetts by an overwhelming margin. The Clean Elections Law is also being rejected by the voters of Massachusetts. The income tax is only being retained by a 53%-47% margin.
It's all exit polling, folks. But some bad news has Kathleen Kennedy Townsend ahead in the race to become Maryland's next governor.
Pryor is only leading 51-49 in Arkansas. It may be a late night there, too.
By the way, is anyone else ticked off at Elizabeth Dole for taking Sunday off from the campaign trail to "run errands"?
OK gang, the latest exit poll results courtesy of Matt Drudge:
The Good News
Coleman winning in Minnesota
Talent winning in Missouri
Chambliss winning in Georgia
Cornyn winning in Texas
Thune winning in South Dakota
That means the Republicans are picking up as of now 4 Democrat seats.
The Bad News
Strickland leads in Colorado
Pryor leads in Arkansas
Lautenberg leads in New Jersey
Bowles leads in North Carolina (but the race has gone back and forth; we could be up all night for this one)
This means the Democrats are definitely picking up 2 Republican seats
They may pick up another in North Carolina.
Landrieu will probably be below 50% in Louisiana: runoff time
Nothing on the New Hampshire race. It could all come down to John Sununu.
The whole thing is a wash if Sununu does not win in New Hampshire, and if Elizabeth Dole wimps out in North Carolina
Jeb Bush is winning in the Florida governor's race.
Nothing on California, or Massachusetts gubernatorial races.
The Boston Globe reports that the ruling from the Vatican that is expected to re-iterate the pre-Vatican II ban on admission of homosexuals to the priesthood will not come out until next year. The odds favor a ban, since the Catechism correctly categorizes homosexuality as "objectively disordered," and it stands to reason that objectively disordered individuals should not be admitted to the seminary, either for the diocesan priesthood, or for the orders.
For those who continue to harp on the fact that not all sex abuse of minors is homosexual, I point you to the first chapter of George Weigel's The Courage To Be Catholic. Also check the Weekly Standard's Mary Eberstadt in her seminal article The Elephant in the Sacristy, any of Rod Dreher's articles on the subject at National Review On Line, Michael Rose's Goodbye, Good Men, George Sim Johnston's article in Crisis, or my own in the June New Oxford Review. And remember one fact that cannot be denied. Eighty-five percent of the abuse allegations currently being considered involve abuse by adult males of post-pubescent males (often called ephebophilia, and known in the homosexual community as "chicken-hawking"). So 85% of the clergy sex abuse problem in the Catholic Church is homosexual in nature. Eight-five percent is enough to make it the dominant part of the problem. Given that, the Church would be well-advised to protect Cathoic families by screening homosexuals from seminary admission in the future, even if it means fewer priests.
I think that is exactly what the Vatican has in mind, given the public statements of the Holy Father and his spokesman Navarro-Valls. Eliminating 85% of these cases in the future makes sense.
Byron York, writing in National Review On Line, takes a look at the difficulties a narrow GOP margin in the Senate will bring, if we get there.
The Romney campaign is filing a protest over union workers working for Shannon O'Brien escorting Spanish-speaking voters into the polling booth and voting for them. I fear there is a lot more of this to come, since O'Brien is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the AFSCME/NEA, and other Democrats all across the country will be using every under-handed trick possible to bring the dead to the polls.
Update: It happened at a Jamaica Plain polling place (Boston's Ward 11). The Romney people have it on film.
You may not believe it, but I am going to take a few paragraphs on this Election Day to praise some small local music groups. Much of the good musical perfomances today come not from the big names, or the garage rock bands (and certainly not from the aspiring rapper), but from small groups many might consider to be on the fringe of popular music. Many of these groups are dedicated to preserving musical traditions. Four groups come to my mind.
The Makem Brothers are probably the most prominent of these groups. These are the three sons of Irish folk legend Tommy Makem (who, along with the Clancy Brothers took Irish folk mainstream in the 1960s). They open often for Tommy, but have three CDs available, including one devoted to songs about the 1798 Rebellion. They are from New Hampshire, and often perform in this area (we have seen them about 4 times in person). This link will take you to Red Biddy Records, which produced their albums.
Also from New Hampshire is a group Mrs. Fitzpatrick and I first encountered on our honeymoon in Kennebunkport, the Angel Band. This instrumental group is dedicated to preserving and performing the works of the great blind 18th century Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan. Their work is somewhat similar in sound to the Chieftans'. They have a CD, but no website, and can only be contacted via snail mail at David Behm 261 Old Mountain Road Northwood, New Hampshire 03261 Tel: 603/942-8493.
The Revels is a group that has made its name, in Salem anyway, with 2 CDs of sea chanties. I just acquired their Victorian Christmas Revels CD at Borders. Their website is very interesting.
The Virginia Company, a group once loosely affiliated with Colonial Williamsburg, I have blogged about extensively (but can't find the link at the moment). They have three CDs under their mark on the market, but can only be found at specialty dealers, like James Townsend & Sons.
I think that the Boston Camerata and the Academy of Ancient Music are a little too well known for inclusion in this category, though we enjoy their work as well.
I suppose if Bill Clinton can have political success, there is room for Gary Hartpence. Clinton's greatest legacy: revivifying the careers of Democrats who can't keep their pants zipped.
Some little tidbits on European unemployment should prevent too much bellyaching about our own economy. German unemployment is stuck at 8.3%. French unemployment is 8.8%. Spain has 11.2%! The average for the European Union nations is 7.6%. Oh the joys of socialist economies!
The US rate is 5.6%. Japan, despite a decade of 4 recessions, has 5.4% (which is record high for that country).
Zenit carries Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon's take on the Scandal. She seems a little too defensive about the Catholic aspect of the Scandal. Anti-Catholicism has deep roots in our culture, yes. But the pervert priests, whether they are any more common than pervert protty ministers or not, and their enablers in chanceries all over the country, earned this opprobrium.
Election Day dawned clear and cold here in Salem. City Hall was open at 5:30 so that the election drones could get their marching orders. Today, we will be treated to lots of news stories about candidates voting, GOTV efforts, and last-minute hand-shaking. Sometime this afternoon, I'll hike down to our polling place to cast my vote.
The media will be chary about reporting exit polls after the Florida debacle of two years ago. The never-daunted Matt Drudge can be counted on to release any information he can get. I for one would prefer to have that information.
The concession and victory speeches are at least 12 hours away. There is a lull of peace for now. Enjoy it while it lasts, because we may have news stories about recounts and legal challenges of this election for days or even weeks to come.
Mona Charen, carried also in TownHall.com, reminds us of the relentless leftism of National Public Radio. For those who claim that NPR is somehow balanced, you are refuted by two words: Nina Tottenburg.
Larry Kudlow, carried in TownHall.com, reminds us that things could be much worse. Jimmy Carter or Walter Mondale could be President. That memory ought to be enough to bring Republican voters out in droves, and not just in Minnesota.
The Fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot
Guy Fawkes Night is a national patriotic holiday in England to this day. It is of course anti-Catholic in its origins, though the plot to blow up Parliament was indeed a Catholic plot. Today, the anti-Catholic element of the holiday is forgotten (since Catholics are a plurality of Christians in the UK, as in the US). It is a night for warming bonfires and fireworks.
An interesting (and more devoutly anti-Catholic) offshoot of Guy Fawkes Night was Puritan Boston's Popes' Day. The rival North and South End gangs would each build on a flatbed wagon an ugly effigy of the Pope. Starting at opposite ends of the town, they would parade toward a central point, Haymarket. In the market square, a titanic donnybrook would ensue as the gangs battles with barrel staves, fists, rocks, clubs, and anything else that came to hand. The gang that won would capture the other gang's Pope. Both effigies would then be burned. There would then usually be a public banquet following the brawl. This was usually also Mischief Night in Puritan New England, a time for overturning outhouses, stealing gates, egging houses, and other practices that have been absorbed into Halloween mischief in modern times.
The Boston Globe reports on the revised US bishops' pervert priest policy, essentially dictated by the Vatican. It puts back the statute of limitations, which may not be a good idea, though the statute can be set aside for pastoral reasons. I think this will do for future cases. Keep in mind that, in the future, no one will bother bringing these matters first to the attention of the Church. Victims and families will go straight to civil authorities, the press, and attorneys, who will make it a publically known matter from the very beginning, regardless of whether the Church prefers to keep it quiet or not. The Globe has more details here.
The al Qaeda operatives taken permanently out of service yesterday in Yemen found their quietus via a Hellfire missile fired from a US Predator, and didn't blow up on the way to a new terrorist outrage. Operation Infinite Justice still has a way to go, but nice work to whoever was operating the Predator. Six barbarians down. About 40,000 more to go. I hope the Daisy Cutter production line is busy. Fox News has more details here.
Even better news is that one of the top al Qaeda operatives, believed responsible for the murderous attack on the USS Cole, was in the car. Six al Qaeda sent to Hell is a very good day.
Monday, November 04, 2002
This is a disgusting and immensely disturbring development that gives the lie to the concept of progress and the theory that diminishing the influence of Christianity in Europe is a good thing.
Fox News is reporting that Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura has folowed through on his threat to name an independent to the US Senate seat formerly held by the late Paul Wellstone. There is no link up yet at the Fox News site, or even the name of the appointed Senator. It does not bode well for the Democrats, as it means that, if there is a lame-duck session, the Democrats will not be in control of the Senate (unless the Minnesota Indepenent decides to caucus with them) until the winner of the Coleman-Mondale race is certified (and the most recent polls say Coleman has somehow pulled ahead of Mondale). The Democrats could be doubly disadvantaged in a lame duck session. because if Jim Talent wins in Missouri, he becomes Senator as soon as he is certified.
Update: According to the Globe, the new senator is Dean Barkley of the Independence Party. Not much is known about his leanings. He may also serve until the new senate convenes in January, not just until the winner of tomorrow's election is certified.
Historical trends do not favor the prospects of the Republican Party in tomorrow's election. Historically, the party in control of the White House loses an average of something like 15 House seats and 3-5 Senate seats. With the economy still struggling in its recovery, and with a war looming, one would think that the trends would be exacerbated, and that we would be looking at 20-25 seats lost in the House and 5-7 in the Senate.
The polls all tell us that the GOP is likely to retain and perhaps even expand its slim majority in the House. The Senate is up for grabs, but no one thinks the Republicans will come out of the race any worse than being down 1 seat from their current levels (and that is the most pessimistic view I have read, the most optimistic has them gaining 2 seats and taking control back).
The ineptitude of the Democrats has a lot to do with this. The primacy of national security issues and the good will for President Bush for his leadership in the war are also factors (though Republicans proabably wish the election was held 8 months ago, when generic GOP ratings were significantly better).
But we still need a different approach to end the deadlock of American poltics. Otherwise, we face the same problems Great Britain did in 1890-1914 regarding paralysis of the political system. For the Brits, it was Ireland that caused the impasse. For us today, it seems to be the role of the federal courts on a variety of social issues including abortion.
Six al Qaeda suspects in Yemen were killed when the car they were riding in blew up. Apparently, they were on the way to some new terrorist outrage. The AP story says the car blew up while in motion.
Four US military bases in Afghanistan came under fire this weekend in an apparently coordinated, but ineffectual attack by al Qaeda. No American personnel were injured. The Globe has the AP wire story here.
Shannon O'Brien, Massachusetts candidate for governor and wholly-owned subsidiary of the AFSCME/NEA Party (aka, the Democrats) is claiming that Republican Mitt Romney's candidate for Lieutenant Governor Kerry Murphy Healy is unqualified for office. It is true (and I have been saying it since I started Verus Ratio in June which is why I backed Jim Rappaport in the Republican primary), but O'Brien's running mate Chris Gabrielli is no better qualified.
The momentum in the race seems to have shifted to Romney in the last week with a good performance in the last debate by Romney. But the race, just like almost all the US Senate races, is too close to call.
You can be sure that the unions will be getting out lots of voters from old age homes, cemeteries, homeless shelters, prisons, drug treatment centers, insane asylums, half-way houses, and slums all over Massachusetts. It is their natural constituency.
National Review On-Line carries Bill Bennett's characterization of the Democrat Party as one that has no soul, only ambition.
Courtesy of the Boston Globe.
It is the day before election day, and the US Senate races could not be tighter. Republicans need to pick up one seat to regain control of the Senate, and thus unstick the President's judicial nominees (including any Supreme Court vacanies that might come up).
Depending on which polls you listen to, either Rep. John Sununu, or Governor Jean Shaheen is ahead in New Hampshire.
Depending on which polls you listen to, either Rep. Jim Talent, or "Senator" Jean Carnahan is ahead in Missouri.
Depending on which polls you listen to, either Rep. John Thune, or Senator Tim Johnson is ahead in South Dakota.
Depending on which polls you listen to, either John Cornyn or Ron Kirk is ahead in Texas.
Depending on which polls you listen to, either Norm Coleman or Vice President Walter Mondale is ahead in Minnesota.
Depending on which polls you listen to, either Senator Wayne Allard or Tom Strickland is ahead in Colorado
Depending on which polls you listen to, either Senator Tim Hutchinson or Mark Pryor is ahead in Arkansas.
Depending on which polls you listen to, either Saxby Chambliss or Senator Max Cleland is ahead in Georgia.
I don't think I can remember an election in which so many senate seats are so close so late. I see this as part of the continuing state of gridlock and constitutional crisis in our political institutions that has been a part of our political lives since the 1992 elections, in which we elected a president without the clear mandate of a popular majority (the same thing happened in 1996 courtesy of Ross Perot). The impeachment crisis and the 2000 election just served to exacerbate this trend. When control of the Senate switched last year because of the treachery of a single senator, it was another symptom of the impasse we have reached nationally.
The parties appear to be in a state of complete parity. They are equally matched, and neither is able to gain a decisive advantage over the other. The Democrats have assembled a coalition of organized labor, especially public employees' unions, people on the public dole in one form or another, blacks, homosexuals, feminists, environmentalists, and idealogical liberals. The amazing thing is that this coalition, which is basically unchanged from the 1980s, has grown so that it is now in rough balance with the voters assembled by the Republicans, among whom idealogical conservatives predominate.
How can this deadlock be broken? Edmund Burke offered the solution two hundred years ago. Moral imagination. Creative reform that preserves. Ronald Reagan, who George H.W. Bush complained had an overabundance of "the vision thing," with tax cuts, cutting back regulation, strengthening the armed forces, and standing athwart the path of the Soviet Union everywhere it turned and commanding it to stop, achieved great things, and brought victory and dominance to the Republican Party in general, and conservatism in particular. George W. Bush needs to think long and hard about what Reagan accomplished, and how he did it, if he wants to win a second term, and carry a Republican Congress along with him.
Here are some themes he and the Republican Party should develop:
English as the national language,
Restrictions on legal immigration, and tough enforcement against illegals,
Reducing the regulatory burden on American businesses,
Adding Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom to NAFTA in the creation of an English-speaking free trade group,
Developing the possibility of cooperation with Russia,
Further reducing the burden of taxation on Americans, perhaps through cuts in the capital gains tax,
Re-building communities by offering tax incentives to companies that hire locals and keep them there,
Stressing the need for law-and-order judges who will be tough on crime, and respectful of legislative action and states' rights,
Vigilance against Islamo-fascist terrorism and taking out the states that support it seriatim, without any fanfare before it's done,
Support for Israel in the face of Palestinian barbarism, while grooming the Palestinians for eventual poltical responsibility,
Using the bully pulpit to encourage higher and higher mandatory standards in education at the state and local level,
Using a variety of means to break the power of the public employees' unions,
Support for English immersion in all public schools,
Championing the Defense of Marriage Act,
Supporting local aid with no strings for parochial schools,
Energy independence via ANWR, and drilling off Florida,
Support for Wise Use of public lands and water rights,
Encouraging via the bully pulpit a mass movement of citizens embracing a Declaration of Responsibilities for American Citizens,
Ending once and for all "affirmative action" and other means by which the government discriminates on the basis of race.
If Bush presents these themes forcefully for the next two years, and does so in a sympathetic manner, he will add to the Republican base by picking off converts from parts of the Democrat coalition. It will energize the Republican base, and bring them to the polls. If Bush does this, he will win a second term in a landslide and win Republican control of both houses of Congress by a decisive margin. Clearly what he and the Republican Party have done for the last two years has only furthered the existing gridlock.
When you play for a tie, the best you get is a tie. When you go for broke and nationalize the issues in every congressional district, as the Republicans did in 1980 and 1994, you get decisive majorities. Are you taking notes, Mr. Rove?
FrontPage Magazine offers today several articles on how the academy is treating the enemy. Daniel Pipes, in an article originally carried in Commentary, points out that the left is obfuscating the war-like meaning of the concept of jihad. David Gulliver points out that young people are being turned against their country by their professors at every rung of the collegiate ladder, not just the Ivy League. Ibn Warraq, in a piece that originally appeared in The Guardian, bewails the influence of people like Edward Said who have given the West an entirely false view of Islam and its consequences.
Today the Church honors one of central figures of the Counter Reformation, Saint Charles Borromeo. Born October 2, 1538, Charles Borromeo was a Medici on his mother's side. He studied the humanities at Milan and undertook further studies at Pavia. On the day after Christmas, 1559, his uncle Angelo de Medici became Pope Pius IV. Five days later, at the age of 22, Borromeo became a cardinal. In February of the next year, he was named Archbishop of Milan.
Cardinal Borromeo played a leading part in the final meetings of the Council of Trent. On the death of his uncle in 1565, he dominated the conclave that elected Pius V. From about 1562 on, he desired to lead a life of more devout and rapt piety than the papal court allowed. Once Pius V was in office, Borromeo returned to Milan and set about reforming the see. He used his own wealth for seminaries, schools, and hospitals. He suppressed abuses among the clergy.
His personal mortifications were notable. He meditated twice an hour, and said his office on his knees. He slept fully clothed, and fasted on bread and water just about continuously. Two priests were employed to continually point out his faults to him. He sold his gold plate to feed the hungry. He even gave up his bed to those lacking a place to sleep, while he himself slept on the floor. He died at the age of 46 in 1584.
Borromeo is a shining example of what the Church needs in its bishops at this hour.
If you need information on candidates' positions on abortion and other life issues in your state, ProLifeInfo.org provides the following links:
For a national pro-life voting guide and list of pro-life candidates,
We Vote Pro-Life at http://www.wevoteprolife.com. For additional
find your state below:
Alabama - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/alabama.htm
Arizona - http://www.azlifepac.org
Alaska - http://www.akrtl.org/endorsements.html
Arkansas - http://www.artl.org/state.shtml
California - http://www.californiaprolife.org/voter/voter.html
Colorado - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/colorado.htm
Connecticut - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/connecticut.htm
Delaware - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/delaware.htm
Georgia - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/georgia.htm
Hawaii - http://www.hrtl.org/
Idaho - http://www.idahochooseslife.org/endorsements.HTM
Illinois - http://www.ifrl-pac.com
Indiana - http://www.candidatesurveys.com
Iowa - http://www.irlc.org/legislators/index.htm
Kansas - http://www.kfl.org/politics/index.shtml
Kentucky - http://www.krla.org/krla_pac_endorsements.htm
Louisiana - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/louisiana.htm
Maine - http://www.mainerighttolife.com/nws-votguide.html
Maryland - http://www.mdrtl.org/endorsements.htm
Michigan - http://www.rtl.org/html/elections/2002/index.html
Minnesota - http://www.mccl.org/votersquide.pdf
Mississippi - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/mississippi.htm
Missouri - http://www.missourilife.org/election.htm
Montana - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/montana.htm
Nebraska - http://www.nebraskartl.org/election2002.htm
Nevada - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/nevada.htm
New Hampshire - http://www.citizensforlife.org/
New Jersey - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/newjersey.htm
New Mexico - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/newmexico.htm
New York - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/newyork.htm
North Carolina - http://www.ncrtlpac.bizland.com
North Dakota - http://www.ndrl.org/
Ohio - http://www.ohiovotesforlife.org/
Oklahoma - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/oklahoma.htm
Oregon - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/oregon.htm
Pennsylvania - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/pennsylvania.htm
Rhode Island - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/rhodeisland.htm
South Carolina - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/southcarolina.htm
South Dakota - http://www.sdrighttolife.org/
Tennessee - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/tennessee.htm
Texas - http://www.texasrighttolife.com/pac/index.html
Utah - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/utah.htm
Vermont - http://www.vrlc.net
Virginia - http://www.vshl.org/elections
Washington - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/washington.htm
West Virginia - http://www.wvforlife.org/pac-endorsements-2002.html
Wisconsin - http://www.wrtl.org/temp.html
Wyoming - http://www.wevoteprolife.com/wyoming.htm
Cardinal Law, saying Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross yesterday, acknowledged that his actions worsened the sufferings of those preyed upon by perverts in the priesthood. If nothing else, yesterday's First and Gospel readings provided a powerful backdrop for such a statement. The Boston Globe has more deatils here.
Sunday, November 03, 2002
That the readings for today's Mass were absolutely on-point for the Scandal. It is a bad sign, however, that one automatically thinks of the American bishops when the Gospel reading talks about the Pharisees.
A helicopter carrying US citizens employed by the Hunt Corporation was shot at shortly after take-off in Yemen. The Americans received only minor injuries. Put that one in the al Qaeda fall offensive file. Fox News has more details here.
Boston College beat Notre Dame! Boston College beat Notre Dame! Boston College beat Notre Dame! Boston College beat Notre Dame! Boston College beat Notre Dame! Boston College beat Notre Dame! Boston College beat Notre Dame!
For Boston, for Boston...
And the New England Patriots shook off their month-long lethargy and kicked the Buffalo Bills around.
But all you really need to know is,
BOSTON COLLEGE BEAT NOTRE DAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am enjoying Michael Rose's Ugly As Sin. It is a much quicker read than Goodbye, Good Men. I find his positions on church architecture and iconography compatible with my own. I am learning, or re-learning much, thanks to Rose. Rose's work has given me a deeper appreciation for the iconography of my own parish of St. James here in Salem. I might even try to find the time to discuss St. James' interior design in detail. I expect to be done with UAS today (I'd better hurry, Mrs. Fitzpatrick wants it next).
Then it will be back to the salt mines. I am 50 pages or so into Cardinal Ratzinger's The Spirit of the Liturgy, and finding it a thorough chore. I think he is building up to conclusions I will agree with. But his prose in English is tortured, and too full of theological and philosophical jargon to make for ready comprehension. Keep in mind, I skated through college on a great books curriculum that exposed me to very little philosophy and no theology worth mentioning (we read St. Augustine's Confessions, and some of Luther's works). So, 12 years out of academe, I am finding Ratzinger tough going. And I am out of the habit of persevering with works that are a slog.
E. Christian Kopff's The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition is more enjoyable. But his topical essays are not all directly on point. A book-length polemic on the need for restoration of clasical literature in education, and practical ways to bring it about would have been more to my liking. I'm more than 180 pages in, but have yet to read really strong arguments for the topic of the book, with which I am very sympathetic. Maybe he will pull it all together at the end. I flatly disagreed with his chapter on economics (and am still wondering what that has to do with a return to the use of Greek and Latin literature in school) as he is a Buchananite, who appears to have slept through the Reagan Prosperity of the 1980s and not noticed that it was caused by more laissez faire policies. Oh well, all movements have their Luddites.
The last two months of the year offer a bumper crop of movies that look intriguing. Normally, if I see a half dozen movies in a year (and that with a discount, second-run theater right across the street) it is a busy year. There are four I want to see this holiday season. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are obvious choices. I also want to see the next Star Trek and James Bond movies.
I am a moderate on the Harry Potter controversies, and really don't see what all the fuss is about. I can only speculate that ill-informed people, who know nothing about modern paganism and Wicca have decided that Harry Potter somehow encourages that. It doesn't. Believe me. I live here in Salem, the Wicca/pagan capital of the world. I see every day what sort of deluded, liberal human debris is drawn to those beliefs. They have nothing to do with Harry Potter and the world of Hogwarts. They need genuine evangelization, which sadly, is lacking from the Church here in Salem.
The stories are interesting reads (I blazed through the four volumes in about 2 weeks) and good stories with some interesting classical, and Christian, allusions. There is much more that is harmful to children in a Star Trek movie, with Roddenberry's constant anti-religion bias. The pinheads who try to get up campaigns against Harry Potter just remind me of the elderly blind monk in The Name of the Rose, who poisoned the pages of the only copy of a work by Aristotle on humor, because humor encourages people to take things less than seriously. They are too blind to notice that Rowling is working up to a conclusion, in which non-magic people ("Muggles") will have to join forces with the good wizards to defeat the evil wizards (sort of like Lord of the Rings, and Narnia).
So I am looking forward to the second Harry Potter movie, and the fifth book, whenever that is going to come out. As for the ban Harry Potter crowd, get a grip, a life, and a clue.
There really hasn't been much worth blogging about this weekend. The Scandal is, for once, not making headlines. The election is of course at white heat, and we will see what the latest polls have to say on Monday. Verus Ratio will be in full election mode Monday and Tuesday. The war is quiet for now. The weather here, while pleasant enough, is colder than usual. We have had many recent Christmases warmer than this past Halloween.
This is a good opportunity to re-charge the batteries. I noticed that Advent starts in 28 days. Thanksgiving is in 25. From here on in, holiday preparations will take center stage in our lives. Baking, cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, visiting, entertaining, writing, and mailing will take up most of our time. So this early November weekend, with Salem's Halloween festivities concluded finally, is a good opportunity to rest and reflect. Enjoy the quiet while you can.