Saturday, September 14, 2002
I'm still buried under the project I am working on. There will be very light blogging today, and perhaps tomorrow as well. Will be back to a more usual volume of blogging on Monday.
The Church celebrates today the Triumph (or Exaltation) of the Cross. Here is a link explaining this feast.
On this date in 1852, the first Duke of Wellington died. Born Lord Arthur Wellesley, the younger son of the Earl of Mornington (a title in the Irish peerage), he became plain old Arthur Wellesley on the death of his father. As a younger son, a career in the army was planned for Arthur. In the 1780s, his family bought his first commission in a Highland regiment. Soon after, Wellesley exchanged into the 33rd Regiment, then owned by General Charles, Earl Cornwallis (of American Revolution fame). Using the purchase system to good advantage, Wellesley was lieutenant colonel of the 33rd (it's everyday commander) when war with revolutionary France broke out. He took his regiment to Flanders and participated in the Duke of York's abortive campaign in the Low Countries.
Wellesley's older brother was serving in an important post in India, and arranged that Wellesley and the 33rd would be sent to that theatre. Wellesley was made a general, and led mixed British and Sepoy armies in battles against the French-allied Maharattas at Assaye and Seringapatam. Wellesley returned to Europe in time to command a brigade on an expedition to Denmark, but saw little action there. He was knighted for his exploits in India
When Bonaparte attempted to seize the throne of Spain for his brother, Britain had an opening where it could fight him to advantage. Wellesley commanded a British force that defeated French forces invading Portugal at Rolica and Vimiero. He was superceded in command by senior generals, who agreed rather disgracefully to let trapped French troops sail back to France (the Convention of Cintra). Sir Arthur had to return to England for a season to clear his name.
He returned to the Peninsula with command of an army. With his Portugese allies, and the remaining Spanish forces, he invaded Spain, and defeated the French at Talavera. Back and forth across the Iberian Peninsula the battles swayed for some years. Busaco, Fuentes de Honoro, Badajoz, Ciudad Roderigo, Salamanca, Vitoria, and the Pyrennes were scenes of major victories by Wellesley, who was made Lord Wellington after Talavera. Finally, with Bonaparte in full retreat on all fronts, and reduced to defending the suburbs of Paris against Austrians, Russians, Prussians, and Swedes, Wellington launched an invasion of the south of France from Spain. His forces were pressing northwards when word reached them of Bonaparte's abdication and surrender.
Wellington was one of the celebrities of the moment. He was made Duke of Wellington and represented Britain at the Congres of Vienna. When word came that Bonaparte had escaped from exile at Elba, had landed in France, and was gathering an army while marching on Paris, Wellington was placed in command of an Anglo-German-Netherlands army to operate out of Belgium.
The army that Wellington assembled left much to be desired. Most of his British troops were not his Peninsula veterans, but troops newly raised or who had seen little or no action during the previous war. His German troops were of uneven quality, and included a great number of militia. His Belgian troops were disaffected at being included in the Netherlands by the Congress of Vienna. The Prussians placed an army under the venerable Field Marshal Prince Blucher near Wellington's in Belgium.
Bonaparte rapidly assembled an effective army, and chose as his first target, the closest allied armies, those of Wellington and Blucher. In June, 1815, Bonaparte crossed into Belgium, and swept the allied pickets out of the way. Taking command of the left wing of the army himself, Bonaparte threw himself on the Prussians at Ligny, while Marshal Ney was to push ahead against Wellington at Quatre Bras. Bonaparte won a victory at Ligny, but Ney only managed a draw at Quatre Bras. Faced with Bonaparte's entire army, Wellington withdrew to a position south of the village of Mont St. Jean. Wellington stayed at a village just north of Mont St. Jean called Waterloo.
In the ridge position south of Mont St. Jean, Bonaparte unleashed severe attacks on Wellington's forces on June 18. Just when it seemed that the irresistible force of Bonaparte was about to budge the immovable object of Wellington, the Prussian army under Blucher began to intervene in the battle, forcing Bonaparte to divide his force. Bonaparte risked his fate on a last gamble, a frontal assault with his Imperial Guard on Wellington. The British regiments that were in the path of the Imperial Guard (including a Brigade of British Guards) were equal to the challenge. At the sight of the elite Imperial Guard retreating, the morale of the entire French army collapsed. The Prussians pursued the fugitives with a vengeance through the night. Bonaparte himself narrowly missed capture. With the collapse of his army, Bonaparte abdicated the throne again, and this time was sent to Saint Helena. Wellington commanded occupation troops in Paris for a number of years.
Wellington's prestige was extraordinarily high. He eventually became (a Tory) Prime Minister, and was until his death Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. He earned the nickname "The Iron Duke" for his army's stand at Waterloo, and his own unflappable coolness.
On September 14, 1851 James Fenimore Cooper died. This early star of American literature produced the Leatherstocking Tales, including Last of the Mohicans. He also wrote one of the more enduring works of American political science, The American Democrat, which took a realistic look at American manners, mores, and political culture. Along with Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe, Cooper belongs to the first generation of great American authors. His work, though, is less taught than Irving's or Poe's. The American Democrat is badly neglected in political science curricula.
In 1814 on this date, Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner while watching the British bombardment of Fort McHenry. He used the tune of a British drinking song called To Anacreon In Heaven. The bombardment was unsuccessful in bringing about the surrender of Fort McHenry.
Last year on September 14th, President Bush climbed atop a pile of rubble at the World Trade Center, and addressed recovery workers with a bullhorn, "That's all right, I can hear you. And pretty soon, the people who brought down these buildings will be hearing from all of us." That night, there were candlelight vigils all across the country, including here in Salem and Peabody.
Friday, September 13, 2002
The severely dry and hot summer we in New England have experienced will take a toll on the region's cranberry crop. The bogs cannot be flooded in order to harvest the berries. The New England cranberry farmer has been losing ground to Wisconsin and other parts of the country for several years now. This will not help this important New England industry.
Mel Gibson, according to this article, which seems to have some fact problems, is a Latin Mass enthusiast, who seems to not accept the authority of the current Pope, or Vatican II. If true, let us hope that he can be reconciled to Rome.
Not accepting Vatican II is pointless. Traditionalists have to learn to at least mouth the words, "I fully accept the validity of Vatican II and the authority of the Holy Father." Then they are free to advocate as much of a return to pre-Vatican II conditions as they like. Unless they accept it, they are in schism, and are excluded from the debate.
At this writing, none of my usual sources has picked this up. But CBS Radio is reporting that 3 men who appear to be of Middle Eastern descent have been detained in South Florida. They were overheard at a restaurant saying that they would strike at America today, Friday 13th. The bomb squad is busy detonating things found in their cars. Fox News has a link up now..
In 1759 on this date a British army commanded by General James Wolfe scaled the heights leading from the Saint Lawrence River and formed up on the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec (Wolfe's advance guard was led by Colonel William Howe, who would command all British forces in North America during the Revolutionary War). The French garrison commanded by the Marquis de Montcalm ventured out of the city to give battle. The disciplined fire power of Wolfe's men prevailed over the French in a short time. The French fled back into the city, and surrendered. Wolfe and Montcalm were both mortally wounded a few yards from each other at the height of the battle. Click here to see the famous painting of the death of Wolfe by Benjamin West.
Another year's fighting would be required for all of French Canada to surrender to General Amherst (and Quebec would almost be lost in a battle in the Spring of 1760 that looked very much like the one of September 13th in reverse). But French Canada and the Indian menace to the New England frontier were nearing their end after Wolfe's victory on the Plains of Abraham.
Today, the Plains of Abraham are a block-wide park overlooking the Saint Lawrence and just outside the Old City. It is a block south of the Grand Allee, a boulevard of shops and cafes. For people-watching, there is no place in North America better than the sidewalk cafes of the Grand Allee on a clement August afternoon. There is an absolutely heavenly place for croissants just a few blocks from the Plains.
When last there with the "British Army" of the Revolutionary War a few years ago, the enlisted men had taken over a popular bar in the Old City and re-christened it "The King George" for the August weekend. I pitched my marquis a short distance from the spot where Wolfe fell. The Sunday battle was cut very short by an absolutely torrential downpour that in an instant waterlogged 2/3 of the muskets of the British army, allowing only one spotty volley that had to be followed up with a bayonet charge. Just as suddenly as the downpour had come, the weather cleared as everyone was packing up for the long drive home.
Here are some quick links to churches I enjoy. Not all the websites are particularly good. St. James' in particular does not do justice to the church's beauty.
St. James, Salem.
Immaculate Conception, Salem,
Saint John the Baptist, Peabody.
Sacred Heart in Malden and St. John the Baptist in Salem don't seem to have websites.
Michael Rose discusses Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles in today's Wall Street Journal. Rose is trained as an architect, and I am not, but I could not agree more with his sense of what is aesthetically wrong with this "worship space."
My wife and I took a virtual tour of it last weekend. Just about the only thing we liked was the tapestries. We had little use for anything else. We are so glad to worship at St. James in Salem, a monumental product of the late 19th century, traditional in every way except that the spire was cut down and that there is no altar rail any longer. Sure it needs some restoration, both inside and out. But it feels like a church. Immaculate Conception and Saint John the Baptist here in Salem, Saint John the Baptist in Peabody, and Sacred Hearts in Malden (where I was baptized) inspire the same feeling. Many other churches including my home parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, Lynnfield, inspire it to a lesser degree.
I don't get that feeling at all from the Taj Mahony, at least based on what I saw on the virtual tour. It seems as though Mahony spent a ton of money to design, build, and decorate something that would be very au courant and very much a tip of the cap to the Hispanic community. Modernity for modernity's sake seems to have been the agenda. Cardinal Mahony could not have alienated tradition-minded Catholics with this design more if he had set out to do so. Let us pray that the worship that will take place in the Cathedral will make us forget the unfortunate design.
In the reformed calendar of feasts of the saints, today is the feast of Saint John Chrysostom. His traditional feast was January 27. Here is a link with a short biography of this saint.
John B. Dwyer, writing in the Washington Times, has these reflections on one of the most complex military operations of the Korean War.
I am a terrible procrastinator. But I can't any longer put off the project I have been vaguely murmuring about in these pages for a couple of weeks. So today and tommorrow will be light blogging days. I may take a few breaks and blog to lessen the boredom. Though I suspect that once I get writing, things will flow.
Right now I am in that state so aptly described by Samuel Eliot Morison in his wonderful essay History As A Literary Art, the stage at which you do anything to avoid writing. After as many delays as you can manufacture, you write a lame paragraph or two. But the prospect of a looming deadline concentrates the mind wonderfully, to paraphrase Dr. Johnson.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
You may have seen this already, but people are still contributing to it. Yesterday, Samizdata.net posted signs seen in numerous London shops indicating that they would observe 2 minutes of silence at 1:46 pm GMT yesterday (8:46 am EST). Glenn Reynolds and others called attention to it here. Hundreds of ordinary Americans (including this pundit) have written in to express their gratitude for the UK's standing with us against terrorism.
As Winston Churchill once growled to Eisenhower after a dispute, "There's only one thing worse than fighting with allies; and that's fighting without them."
Cardinal Law has named Deacon Anthony Rizzuto, the head of the Office of Catholic Cemeteries,head of the office charged with assuring that policies designed to protect minors from pervert priests are carried out. Deacon Rizzuto was made a permanent deacon in 1996, is 53, and is married to a Catholic school teacher. They have grown children. Deacon Rizzuto's background is in psychology, and he has served in the US Air Force. He has served as a deacon in Lexington, and at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
This is an excellent appointment. Deacon Rizzuto is a serious, detail-oriented man. He is not as conservative as I am (but how many Boston-area Catholics are?). I think Boston Catholic families can be sure that he will do a good job in trying to protect children from perverts.
Father John Lyons of the Archdiocese of Boston has been arrested at his home in Plymouth and arraigned this afternoon on 5 counts of child-rape stemming from incidents that occurred at St. Rose of Lima parish in Rochester, MA between 1987-1989.
Rod Dreher has an excellent article in National Review On Line on the overwhelming anti-war sentiment of priests and ministers in the West. Rod found one sound Catholic priest, a Father George Rutler of Christ Our Saviour parish, New York City. Father Rutler's name sounds vaguely familiar. Has he been in the headlines for doing something positive (from a conservative Catholic's point of view) in the last 10 years? Has he written something I liked? Eventually I'll figure it out (maybe with a reminder from a reader).
Update: Forgetful me. Father Rutler is a rather well known author and Contributing Editor of Crisis. No wonder Rod found him to be sound.
A California Appeals Court threw out the $78 million dollar civil fraud verdict against the Simon family enterprise, which has dogged Republican Bill Simon's gubernatorial campaign. The reversal comes at a critical time for the Simon campaign. Simon is lagging in the polls. If he is to make a run at Governor Gray Davis, he has to do it soon.
The Archdiocese of Boston released to plaintiffs' lawyers (who made them public today) documents that show it kept 5 priests in parish duties despite numerous allegations of sex abuse. One of the five, Father Robert V. Gale was arrested two weeks ago for having raped a boy repeatedly when he was between 10 and 14 years of age in the 1980s. The other priests are Father John Atwater, Father Richard Coughlin, Father George Rosenkranz, and Father Joseph Welsh. A great deal of the correspondence in the files was addressed to now-Bishop Robert Banks, now-Bishop John McCormack, and now-Bishop Thomas Daily, the trio we have seen again and again the Geoghan, Shanley, et al. cases.
The pattern we knew existed is again confirmed. The Archdiocese received numerous complaints of sex abuse, and covered them up, tried to hush up the victims, and transferred the priests from parish to parish, so that they could abuse a fresh batch of young boys. If you have the stomach for it, the Globe has the details here.
TCR editorializes that the time has come to broaden the Ecclesia Dei indult (the one which permits the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and others designated by local bishops to use the 1962 Roman Missal for Mass under tightly controlled circumstances). The Vatican has been negotiating with PFSP and others for some time on a broadening of the indult. Some bishops permit a Latin Mass in their jurisdiction, while others do not. Boston's Cardinal Law has permitted one (1) Latin Mass to be said in one City of Boston parish each week. Talk about limiting the contagion!
The Vatican has been reluctant to broaden the indult because it would give aid and comfort to the schismatic Society of Saint Pius X, which denies the validity of Vatican II. But at the same time, Pope John Paul has opened the door for those who prefer the Latin Mass but still recognize the validity of Vatican II by sanctioning the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, which is dedicated to saying the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal (though recent conflicts with Vatican authorities have made it clear that they have to say the Novus Ordo Mass as well).
Personally, I find the Latin Mass a beautiful tradition which I might like to attend from time to time if it should be convenient, and if it has the sanction of Church authorities. I don't view it as any more valid than the Novus Ordo Mass. But in this time of liturgical upheaval in the Novus Ordo, it might provide a much-needed alternative to rock Masses, youth Masses, liturgical dancers, priests trying to audition for Phil Donahue's job, and loose application of the rubrics. To listen to the timeless recitation of the Latin Mass could be an antidote for modernity in all its forms. I think the Church could use it, and would welcome a broadening of the indult.
The full text of President Bush's speech to the UN General Assembly is available here. I doubt his case will win the support of the anti-American hacks who populate that body. But President Bush stated the case very well.
Of particular consequence, is Bush's assertion that Iraq is currently harboring al Qaeda terrorists who have fled from Afghanistan. This is a point I have linked to before (in Larry Kudlow's article of last week). If Iraq is harboring al Qaeda, it automatically triggers the September 14th, 2001 congressional resolution (removing any need for further congressional action). It automatically fulfills the threshold requirements of Catholic Just War doctrine.
A very good performance.
Read fellow Salemite and cigar lover Domenico Bettinelli on what was wrong with the coverage of yesterday's sad anniversary.
Personally, I left the TV off, but had the radio on (though I was filtering out much that was being said) until Senator Bloa-Ted gave the keynote at the Massachusetts ceremony. Then I just turned the radio off. Very few people have earned an automatic shut-off of the radio. Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy are three. Then, there is James Carville, and Paul Begala, and Erskine Bowles, and Terry McAuliffe, and Jimmy Carter, and Jesse Jackson, and Gloria Steinem, and maybe "few" wasn't the right word.
In any case, even without watching TV, I could tell from the radio coverage that the media was catering to Uncle Sam as Aunt Sob Sister way too much. They always do. For 20 years or more, the most TV reporters have thought to do is shove a microphone in the face of someone who has suffered some grievous loss and ask them how they feel. Emotion is pandered to, and elevated over reason. The media deals in emotions. The display of raw emotion is good footage, and boosts ratings. Grief is the most powerful of the ratings-getters.
Of course events like this, when they occur and when they are re-lived, bring tears to the eyes and sorrow to the hearts of all men of good will. But after a short time, the emotion dies down, and reason reasserts itself. Events like this should fill one not with an undirected sorrow, but with an unshakable resolve to deal with the perpetrators and anyone who supports them.
Bernadette Malone in National Review On Line has this excellent description of Bob Smith's descent into political madness.
FrontPage Magazine today includes a very revealing column by Ann Coulter. She discusses an interview with American Moslem students, in which they deny that bin Laden was behind last September's attack on the US, and claim that suicide bombers go directly to Paradise. They blame the US for the attacks, saying our policies led to them. If probed further, they probably would have parroted back that Mossad was behind the attacks, I think.
Ann does not ask it, but the question is obvious. Can the US continue to nurture such ticking time bombs within its own society? If we don't do something about it, won't we pay a terrible price as these kids, some of whom do not appear to be of Middle Eastern descent, move about our society at will, someday without anyone noticing anything amiss? Right now, 90% of the threat against us can be deterred and prevented by good old-fashioned common sense (they call it racial or ethnic profiling now). But what happens when some of these kids grow up? Can we rely on the necessity of their staying employed and raising a family to keep them on the straight and narrow? Wasn't at least one of the September 11th hijackers married and living here for some years?
What can we do to deflect the courses of these kids' intellectual development from the paths they seem to be on? Won't doing what seems to need to be done violate various First Amendment rights (freedoms of religion, speech, and association come to mind without any great reflection)? Even if it could somehow be done within the Constitution, would forcing them to public school or non-Moslem private schools be effective against influence from family and neighborhood religious leaders?
While we are struggling with that one, the borders remain essentially open. Plenty of young men from Moslem countries are coming into the country daily with very little in the way of investigation into their backgrounds and beliefs. The problem is mutiplying, while even the Bush Administration is afraid that doing something about it would be regarded as discriminatory, and would be seen as such by foreign governments, some of which are technically allied to us. While the vast majority of these immigrants have no hostile designs, some few do. Still more are open to them and might lend support to those who do have such intentions if asked.
Just because we are a free society does not mean that we have to be infinitely open to people from outside our society. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires perpetually open borders. It is no longer just a matter of maintaining US society as is (largely European and Christian/Jewish), but self-preservation in the face of a deadly threat that argues for some modification to the immigration laws.
Europe has allowed unprecedented immigration from Moslem countries for 30 years. The result is that the European nations are paralyzed and unable or unwilling to address Moslem terrorism effectively. We can't let that happen here, because if it does, there will be no one to stand up to that evil. All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. That is just what we have been doing in regard to our immigration policy for many years. It is time to think about some prudential limits, and some other efforts to make crossing our borders not such an easy task. But remember, that does not guarantee safety, nor does it address the problem we face from within.
Update: I hadn't seen it when writing this blog, but Michelle Malkin has an article in today's National Review On Line on the Transit Without A Visa program which serves to amplify my point regarding the need for some reforms to the immigration laws. I am not familiar with Michelle's other work, but it looks like she has authored a book called Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces To Our Shores. Sounds like a worthy companion to Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation.
A week after the civil case for sexual abuse collapsed due to the unreliability and inconsistentcy of the plaintiff, Monsignor Michael Smith Foster has been cleared by the Archdiocese and will return to work as Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese, its top canon lawyer.
A six-foot bronze crucifix worth over $3,000.00 has been stolen from LaSalette Shrine in Attleboro, MA. The shrine, which is known for its elaborate religious-themed Christmas light displays, which draw thousands nightly from Thanksgiving to Christmas, has extensive outdoor worship areas. Speculation is being heard that it may be a college prank.
Late journalist Manuel Lozano Garrido, who spent the last 28 years of his life in a wheelchair, is being considered for beatification by the Vatican. Catholic journalists, including the founder of Zenit are championing the cause.
Florida's Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties are the ones having problems counting votes properly. They also featured poll workers who did not understand how the new machines worked, or explain them to voters. Some polls opened late. Governor Bush ordered all polls to stay open an extra hour. Some of the polls ignored the executive order.
Are these counties' elections going to require a federal (or state) master to oversee them from now on? Because of their incompetence (or is it deliberate?) the wretched arson queen of Waco, Janet Reno, is with us yet, contemplating a recount.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
I have been incorrectly crediting James Robbins with co-authoring the article in praise of wargaming that appeared in National Review last fall. Glenn Reynolds co-wrote it with Dave Kopel. It is now available here. It is nice to see my youth publically redeemed. But I bet even these guys didn't invest in The Campaign In North Africa, which covers the war against Rommel at a company level and takes up to two years of weekend play to complete. The rules are so complex, they even cover evaporation of gasoline due to desert heat. And no, I've never gone beyond unpacking the materials, setting up the maps, and reading the design notes and rules.
A Northwest Airlines jet from Memphis to Las Vegas was diverted to Fort Smith, Arkansas when passengers who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent locked themselves in the bathroom. Reportedly they were shaving their body hair. According to a terror manual found in the luggage of Mohammed Atta last year, terrorists are to shave their body hair the night before they strike. The Globe has the details here.
The office tower in Columbus, Ohio that houses the Ohio Supreme Court was evacuated after a bomb-sniffing dog reacted to a van parked in the loading dock. No explosives were found, but the dog reacted to the van three times. There are things other than explosives that sometimes fool bomb-sniffing dogs.
The Liberian-flagged cargo ship M/V Palermo Senator has been diverted out of Newark Harbor to a security zone 6 miles off shore. Coast Guardsmen boarding the vessels with sensors detected radiation in the hold. The Coast Guard also heard suspicious noises in the hold, but could not determine the source.
It appears that Florida's voting problems are not the result of the complicated ballots. The problem is the Florida voters. New idiot-proof systems could not be manipulated by Florida voters. If the Democrat Party didn't depend on the sweepings of the streets, insane asylums, and rest homes for Alzheimer's patients for their voters, I think there would be no problems. But then, the Democrats would get no votes. But as far as I'm concerned, that would not be a problem.
National Review On Line carries Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's remarks this morning.
Fox News has this profile of Boston College alumnus and hero of September 11th Welles Crowther.
The US Central Command, the regional military command that oversees military operations in the Middle East and western Asia, which was moved to Florida after the Persian Gulf War, is moving to Qatar, in order to more easily conduct large-scale operations against Iraq. These will not be the last US forces on their way to that theater. God speed and protect them, as they fight for our interests and protection.
National Review On Line has re-published James Robbins thoughts on what the war with Iraq will look like. I think I linked to it about a month ago when it originally appeared. Just file it under "the task ahead."
National Review On Line's Victor Davis Hanson has these reflections on what we have learned.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground -- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
In remembrance of those who died a year ago, the US equities markets will open at about 11:00 am, instead of 9:30.
Ninety-three Massachusetts residents died in the terrorist attacks last year. Seventy other victims had close ties to Massachusetts. Of course, most of them were on the two flights that were hijacked after taking off from Logan, but some were in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Flight 93 as well.
Time to put aside the emotionalism, and get on with the difficult job ahead (and not to carp about whether we should be doing so at all).
The Dallas Morning News (LRR) carries Bill Bennett's thoughts on clarity of purpose and what it will take to win this war. His thoughts dovetail nicely with what I blogged yesterday on this topic.
Historian and military analyst John Keegan (whose books The Face of Battle and The Mask of Command I strongly recommend) has an excellent analysis of the present strategic situation in the New York Post.
The White House honors those who died last year, and the American spirit.
Until a year ago, the worst thing to happen to the Untited States on September 11th was the Battle of Brandywine. This will be shorter than my usual Revolutionary War battle descriptions. In the late summer of 1777, George Washington's army held positions along the Brandywine Creek, defending Philadelphia from General Sir William Howe's army, which had landed at Head of Elk, and was advancing on the rebel capital.
As at Long Island a year before, Howe approved a plan, this time devised by General Charles, Earl Cornwallis, of enveloping Washington's open flank. At Long Island, Washington had left his left open. On the Brandywine, he left his right in the air. A forced march put the elite Guards, grenadiers, light infantry, and some line battalions across the Brandywine north of Washington's position. By late afternoon on September 11, Cornwallis' force had deployed and began an attack coordinated with General von Knyphausen's division attacking head-on across the Brandywine (they had been holding Washington's attention to his front through the morning).
Washington's force was forced to fight at both sides of a 90 degree angle. His army was forced off the field after stubborn resistance. Had Sir William possessed an adequate cavalry force, Washington's retreat would have been turned into a rout. The American army's casualties were again lopsided compared to those of Sir William's army. A great many Americans had been captured. Philadelphia fell to Howe within a week.
But for good news soon to reach the Americans from the northern front against Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne, Brandywine and the loss of Philadelphia would have been deeply dispiriting. As it was, Washington's army, though let down by its light forces (which were supposed to screen it and report the movements of the enemy), put up a good fight, though it was eventually over-matched by the British and German troops. The Americans were becoming accustomed to soldiering, and would recieve more training over the winter at Valley Forge.
The Washington Times published this highly revealing comparison. We need to take on more of the wartime spirit of 1942 and put aside the sentimentality. There remains a job to be done.
Fox News carries the stories of some who survived the attack on the World Trade Center.
Several heavily armed gunmen were killed or captured in a battle with Pakistani forces in Karachi. One child was killed in the cross-fire. Fox News has the details.
But with news sources not yet updated (one of the perils of being an early riser) it looks like McBride beat Reno in the Democrat race for the Florida governorship. Cynthia McKinney's father appears to have lost his re-election bid for a seat in the Georgia legislature. Craig Benson appears to have the Republican nomination for governor of New Hampshire, upsetting former Senator Gordon Humphrey.
By a margin of 53% to 45%, Rep. John Sununu unseated Senator Bob Smith in the Republican primary for US Senatein New Hampshire. Sununu will face Governor Jean Shaheen in November. The two are close in the polls (though poles apart idealogically) though Sununu holds a slim lead. Smith had outspent Sununu by better than 2-1.
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
The Vice President was going to be on with Rush Limbaugh tomorrow at around 1:00. His office just postponed, as the VP will be at an undisclosed location tomorrow and will be making no appearances. I guess it just goes with the Orange Alert status.
September 17, 2:00 pm for school children and anyone who wants to join in. Fox News has the details. A worthwhile gesture, I think.
Though Moore looks like the "responsible" candidate in the race.
Due to increased threats being investigated by the government agencies concerned, the general alert status has been upgraded for the first time in a while to Orange. It has been at Yellow for a long time.
Heard this on the radio this morning. I think we can all use a morale boost today.
THE RETURN OF GREGORIAN CHANTS
The ancient, sacred sounds of Gregorian chant are making a comeback.
As the Catholic Church became more modern with the ecumenical reforms of the 1960's, two things fell out of favor, the Latin mass and the Gregorian chant.
Gregorian chants had been popular since the sixth century under Pope Gregory. Then chanting gave way to other forms of music and these days there are folk masses and even services featuring rock music. But some younger Catholics are going back to the Church's musical roots.
"More and more young people today it seems to me are looking for a more uplifting music. Something that raises them up to the level of prayer, instead of something that sounds like watered down pop or a toothpaste commercial," says Father Robert Skeris, who teaches music at Catholic University in Washington DC and who is an expert in the Gregorian chant, which he calls sung prayer.
"It's kind of the brea, the vis vitalase, the living breath of faith and prayer as they're trying to be expressed," he says.
Father's students agree, one says, "I sing because chant is expressive of a solemnity but also of a joy that's at the heart of the liturgy and of our faith. It connects us to those who have gone before us over the centuries."
A Gregorian chant revival is quietly catching across America. Jackson Schoos is the music director of the diocese of Sacramento, California. "Certainly people seem to be hungering for something that really allows them to move outside into a more spiritual realm."
Father Skeris says, "It's a treasure that's come down to us even today from the very earliest days of Christianity and I believe that the grace that music imparts has not lost any of its potency."
Actually, Gregorian Chant made a big comeback in the mid-'90s with the popular CDs of the Chant series. I thought the popularity had waned somethat since then. But if a new comeback is underway, it would be most welcome.
Source: WCBS. Check out the rest of the Osgood File here.
Amy Welborn found a report that the Arlington, Virginia Diocese has a problem with pervert priests too. This problem involves the presence of pornography in rectories, gay sex among homosexual priests, and the bishop's effort to persecute a whistle-blower.
THIS TIME, HE SAYS, THE PASTOR HOARDED COLLECTIONS OF SADOMASOCHISM, SEXUAL TORTURE, PORNOGRAPHY INVOLVING SHE-MALES, MATERIALS SOMETIMES MAILED TO THE RECTORY ITSELF. AGAIN, HE SAYS HE APPEALED TO THE BISHOP, AND THIS TIME "THE BISHOP TOLD ME THAT I HAD BETTER WATCH OUT, THAT I DID NOT KNOW WHAT HE WAS CAPABLE OF DOING."
And Arlington is one of the more conservative dioceses in the country. That gives you an idea how bad the problem is throughout the American Church. Michael Rose, call your office. There is work to be done.
Fellow Salemite and cigar lover Domenico Bettinelli has analyzed the latest pronouncement by the VOTF leadership. Great assessment.
The debris is cleaned out in Manhattan. There is a large gap in the sky-line of New York City. The hole in one of the sides of the Pentagon is being fixed. Families have adjusted as best they can to the loss of fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. We have a new respect for firemen, policemen, and EMTs. The fear felt by all Americans a year ago is under control, but not forgotten. Patriotism and faith were rediscovered, then forgotten again.
Across the globe, the Taliban no longer rules in Afghanistan. They and their allies in al Qaeda are scattered across the borders of that troubled land, and across the world. The Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the Philippines, who have been running more or less amok for years, are now just on the run. Unfinished business with Iraq is about to be taken care of. Intelligence, law enforcement and security forces across the civilized world are doing their best to watch or round up likely terrorists before they can strike again.
And yet... . The task remaining to be accomplished is impressive, almost daunting. We need not just change a few governments (itself a task fraught at each stage with peril and the possibility of failure) but must somehow transform the hatred and contempt the US is held in by the man on the street in many Moslem countries into, at the very least, abject fear (grudging respect would be better, love and friendship the best). Even today, US embassies in Asia are closing due to terrorist threats. European opinion is against taking out Iraq. Pacifist leftists and isolationists in this country are finding their voices again. The courts threaten to interfere in detaining people with plausible links to terrorists. Public opinion here is less than decisively united. Even after last September 11th, considerations of political correctness have often prevailed over realistic security needs, most notably in the area of airport security. Our intelligence and diplomatic establishments still seem to have their heads so far up...well, let's just say they must have a hard time getting oxygen there.
The question reverberates: are we serious about this? As a nation, are we steeled to the harsh reality that Americans will die to protect our way of life? Afghanistan was easy. Unless Central Command has come up with an absolute masterpiece of psychological warfare (better than faking out the Taliban with the "weakness" of the Northern Alliance, and better than the use a decade ago of the Marines on their assault ships as a matador's cloak while the sword, in the form of 5 American and British panzer divisions sliced around the enemy's relatively unguarded right to deliver the fatal blow) there are likely to be at least some casualties in ousting Saddam Hussein.
Are we ready to ramp up security even more to do as much as is humanly (not just politically, but humanly) possible to thwart another attack? Are we ready to accept inconvenience to possibly save lives? Will we have the fortitude not to carp and whine when the first brave young Americans return in body bags? What if the fighting is not all confined to "over there," but includes suicide bombings in Times Square on New Year's Eve, or poisoned water supplies in a major metropolitan area, or a radiological bomb going off in Wall Street? Will we muster the grit to see that the job is completed nevertheless? Do we have enough will to stare down world opinion and do what needs to be done? Do we have what the English used to call "bottom"?
For the sake of those who died a year ago tomorrow, and those who may die if we don't deal a series of utterly shattering blows to the terrorists, their allies and supporters, let us pray that we do.
Thanks to Mark Shea for the link. If I had any doubts that we ought to be taking out the Iraqi government, this would have effaced them. Rev up the Daisy Cutter production line (we ran out in Afghanistan thanks to the emasculation of the Defense Department by Clinton), start moving a couple of heavy divisions to the area. Get the allies behind us if possible. If not, do it alone. Every day we delay is perhaps mortally dangerous. Let's roll!
MEMRI has information on the formation of Iraqi suicide squads to carry out attacks against us. Oh, no, Iraq poses no threat to the United States.
To quote a line from John Wayne in The Longest Day,
"Don't give the enemy a break. Send him to Hell."
Daniel Pipes in Jewish World Review has a list of Americans murdered by Islamo-Fascists in the last 30 years. The list is apallingly long, and betrays the fact that the US, ever fearful of the constriction of its oil supply by Saudi Arabia et al., has not done enough over the years to bring condign punishment on those who target our citizens. Time to put an end to this reign of terror and mete out destruction to those who think they can get away with it.
As good as Pipes' list is, it omits Leon Klinghoffer, murdered on the Achille Lauro, and William Buckley, the CIA officer kidnapped and murdered in Beirut (Buckley worked on a diorama of the Battle of Lexington, that can be seen at the Lexington Chamber of Commerce Vistors' Center behind Buckman Tavern, so I honor his memory as both a patriotic American and a fellow dioramist). He also omits the American missionary Martin Burnham, a second-hand friend of ours (a friend of friends) murdered by Abu Sayyaf this year in the Philippines. And Daniel Pearl.
The process is underway for the canonization of Fulton Sheen. Fulton Sheen gave popular face to Catholicism in the US in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. Sheen was an advocate for the Church to the world. And he was an amazingly effective and prolific one. I, for one, hope that the canonization process bears fruit quickly. The renewal of interest in Sheen's work that such a move would bring would be very beneficial for the Church in the US.
On my list of possible saints is Hilaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton, Malcom Muggeridge, and maybe even good old Evelyn Waugh (no one ever said saints have to have cheerful, pleasant dispositions).
A new poll by the Boston Herald in the race for the Democrat nomination for governor of Massachusetts shows Robert B. Reich, the ultra-liberal former Harvard professor and Clinton's Labor Secretary, has pulled into a tie with front-funner Shannon O'Brien. Former state Senator Warren Tolman, the only candidate funded by the State Clean Elections fund (which he has spent on ads attacking House Speaker Tom Finneran, who is not in the race for governor, the last time I looked) is in third place. Senate President Thomas Birmingham, is dead last. Does anyone want to bet on how long Birmingham will continue as a resident of Chelsea (which he represents in the Senate) after he loses?
The interesting thing is that Reich has done this without money. The Massachusetts primary is next Tuesday.
The Archdiocese of Boston has suspended another priest from duty on allegations of sex abuse. Father Leonard Pelletier, pastor of Saint Louis de France parish in Lowell, was suspended on allegations recently made that he molested a minor more than 20 years ago.
This is primary day in New Hampshire and several other states. New Hampshire Republicans have the most interesting choices (and thank goodness it is a closed primary, that can proceed without interference from Democrats). They choose between former US Senator Gordon Humphrey, one of the most steadfast voices of the pro-life cause in the Senate in his time there, and several less-established candidates. In the US Senate race, erratic Senator Bob Smith (the man voted against opening ANWR, for Pete's sake!) is probably going to be retired tonight by Granite State Republicans in favor of Congressman John Sununu. While New Hampshire voters lose 2% on the respective ACU ratings with Sununu, they would lose a lot more if Smith were to win tonight. The polls say there is no way on earth Smith will beat Governor Jean Shaheen in the general election. Sununu has a slight lead over her.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Democrats choose between Janet Reno and her closest rival. I know the conventional wisdom is that Reno has such high negatives that she can't beat Governor Jeb Bush. But I have noticed a trend in recent elections held at the statewide level all over the country. Women vote almost en masse for a female candidate, and often make the decision at the last minute. The GOP lost several senate seats in 2000 to this factor. Now the actual gender of Janet Reno seems to be a matter of some question. But she claims to be a female, and might very well benefit from that factor in November. No matter how engaging her opponent, and how high her negatives, I think Governor Bush would be better off facing a man in November.
Everyone in the NFL establishment from the smug commentators to even the usually reliable Rush Limbaugh was so sure the Steelers would wipe the smiles off the faces of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots last night. After all, those Patriots are losers from a team with a long history of being losers. That they won the Super Bowl last February was a mere freak, a fluke that the NFL establishment, in the form of the Pittsburgh Steelers, this year's annointed "Team of Destiny" and a descendant of a great many winning teams, would set to rights. The Super Bowl champions were a three-point underdog last night.
Well, the Patriots debuted their new stadium by opening a can of whoop...on the Steelers. The Steelers did not even belong on the same field as the Patriots last night. A 30-14 win over the swaggering NFL establishment is a nice way to start the season.
Yet another helping of crow, anyone?
At 5:30 this morning, it was 74 degrees in Salem, almost an hour before sunrise. They are looking for the mid-90s today.
Monday, September 09, 2002
A trip to the mall is never complete for me unless I stop in at the Carmelite Chapel and Gift Shop. While browsing through the books, two cried out to me to bring them home. But I restrained myself. Hilaire Belloc's Europe and the Faith will wait until another opportunity. But E. Christian Kopff's The Devil Knows Latin, a work that seems deeply influenced by Russell Kirk's love of what he called, "the Permanent Things," had to be brought home. It was published by ISI in 1999. I'll give my impressions of it next week, after the project I am not working on is done.
John Adams: Do you mean to say it is not yet finished?
Thomas Jefferson: No, sir. I mean to say it is not yet begun.
The Diocese of Providence, RI has settled some 36 of 38 suits involving 11 priests for $13.5 million. The funds will come from a combination of insurance and other sources and will be paid out over 10-15 years.
It's a week since Labor Day. I had an errand to run at the mall, so a stopped in at Macy's (Jordan Marsh, to me). The Trim-A-Tree department was under construction, just as I thought it would be. Nothing like getting an early start. All of which seems rather surreal when the temperature is hovering around 95 degrees with high humidity as it is today.
The Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island may have reached a settlement of 38 cases against 11 of its priests for you-know-what. A 4:00 pm news conference is scheduled. The Boston Globe's coverage is interesting for the insight it provides into the organization of the diocese. It consists of 250 individual corporations. Of course, a clever plaintiffs' lawyer can get around the diverse corporate structure and "pierce the veil" as needed, provided that the Church has under-capitalized certain structures.
I also did not know that 63% of all Rhode Islanders are baptized Catholic.
Or has "news" basically become the coming engagement with Iraq, the anniversary of 9/11, election coverage, depressing economic reports, and ongoing Church Scandal updates? Don't get me wrong. These are vitally important. The coming Iraq campaign is something we must do, and do right. As a nation, we need to remember what happened on last September 11th. The election is very important, if for no other reason than the federal courts. And we need to know what is going on with the Scandal (though that has really cooled off lately, except for the potential settlement of the Geoghan case).
But is this all there is? Isn't there a host of domestic issues that need to be addressed? Don't we need a national debate on English as a national language, "affirmative action," the integrity of marriage, tax cuts, abortion, euthanasia, at what level to allow immigration, cultural decline, educational standards, Irish whisky or Scottish, Dominican or Honduran cigars?
Despite the fact that we are all back to work and school (except those schools with a "Michaelmas term"), the level of news coverage seems to be somewhat lacking and very narrow in scope. I mean serious news. I couldn't care less about the comings and goings of celebrities. Judging by the front page of the Boston Globe recently, what is on TV seems to have become major news. Something called American Idol has been given much top-of-the-fold page one exposure. What about the German election? The continuing malaise of the Japanese economy? Will the Tories ever get a majority in the House of Commons again?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Fellow blogger Mark Sullivan now styles Ad Orientem (one of my favorite sites) "a High Church warblog." I love the Rattlesnake Flag. Mark's site is notable for its use of graphics, and for its sensible content.
K-Lo (Kathryn Jean Lopez) of National Review On Line conducts a lengthy and rather optimistic interview with Father Schall, one of the lights of the Jesuits.
From the splendid Crisis Magazine.
Frontpage Magazine features an enlightening panel discussion with Daniel Pipes, Michael Ledeen, and Stephen Schwartz.
This response comes courtesy of Amy Welborn. I don't understand the reference to homosexuals not being validly ordained. Isn't that a back-door attempt at Donatism? But otherwise, the response is on the money.
According to the latest polls, Janet Reno has dropped into a tie with her primary opponent. With the primary tomorrow, all the momentum is with her adversary. It may not be Bush v. Reno in November. We'll know for sure tomorrrow night.
Top figures in the al Qaeda network are featured in an interview to be broadcast this week on al Jezeera. They had discussed an attack on an American nuclear power plant, in order to create an American Chernobyl. They would still like to do so. Fox News has the story here.
Though I am sure that there was a nursing home that could have used him as a chaplain.
Sunday, September 08, 2002
On September 8, 1799, Elias Hasket Derby, the first American millionaire, died here in Salem, in a mansion he had built less than a block from where I am writing this. Derby was the son and principal heir of the House of Derby, colonial merchants.
On April 19, 1775, he shouldered his musket as a private and marched from Salem towards Boston under the command of Colonel Timothy Pickering (later Secretary of State under President Adams). The Salem men arrived just too late to intercept Lord Percy's withdrawing troops. Derby turned his attention to privateering, and equipped a small fleet of fast, well-armed vessels that put quite a crimp in British sea-borne trade (to the further enrichment of Derby). After the war, Derby's public-spiritedness included loyal Federalism (he hosted President Washington on his visit to Salem in 1789).
With American Independence, American merchants were shut out of the accustomed trade within the British Empire. Derby was a leader in establishing new patterns of trade for Salem's merchants. The Baltic trade, the American coasting trade, and trade with Mauritius all helped to re-establish ocean-going commerce. Then Derby's ships found their way to the Far East. Canton became a port frequented by Salem ships (a tangible result was the blue willow pattern china that was the standard on just about every Salem table for 50 years). A Derby ship broke through to become the first American ship to trade in Sumatra for pepper. Pepper and the Canton trade became the basis of Salem's wealth (it was in the mid-1790s the wealthiest town per capita in North America and provided almost 10% of the entire revenue of the United States government through its customs duties).
Derby never went to sea himself (he had a blue eye, and a brown one, and was thought by sailors to be a "Jonah"). But from his houses (he lived in three different ones at various times within 8 blocks) he watched his ships return, and prepared them for their next voyages. Due to the brains, sharp negotiation, and pluck of his captains and supercargoes (Nathaniel Bowditch and Thomas H. Perkins, later a famous Boston merchant, among them) and his own foresight and minute knowledge of the patterns of trade worldwide, Derby became the wealthiest man in America.
Derby gave expression to his wealth in patronage. His employment of Salem architect Samuel McIntire led to the creation of some of the most beautiful and well-proportioned houses in Salem (some still standing). The masterpiece was the mansion that was built by McIntire for the sake of Derby's wife Elizabeth, the Derby Mansion on Essex Street. Only a few months after moving in, Elizabeth Derby died. Five months later, Elias Hasket Derby followed her, at the age of 60.
His sons lacked his skill in trade, and preferred to sell the ships and wharf and warehouses, to live in luxury. In 1817, the Derby Mansion itself was sold and torn down, to make room for a Town Hall that still stands, but is no longer used as such. The leadership of Salem's merchants passed to other families. But Elias Hasket Derby pointed the way for them.
Sic transit gloria mundi, one might say. But it was indeed glorious while it lasted.
The Boston College Eagles won their first football game of the season (against Stanford) with a touchdown with only 36 seconds left on the clock. Bowl-bound? We'll see. For Boston/For Boston...
I must admit that I was not paying attention to the debate going on at Mark Shea's site over Robert Sungenis' remarks. It didn't capture my imagination, so I glossed over it. Then I read Mark's final word on the subject. I was taking part there in a debate on Just War theory as applied to Iraq. I decided to abandon the discussion when one of my interlocutors described my argument as coming from the "Weekly Standardwing of the Republican Party." The Weekly Standard is edited by William Kristol, who I find a little too McCainiac for my tastes, and features writings by Charles Krauthammer, whose work I respect and enjoy. But the common bond is being right-of-center and Jewish. So I was being taken to task for thinking too much like a Jewish person. I'll take that as a badge of honor.
TCR has just published a detailed refutation of Sungenis' remarks (which aside from invading Mark Shea's also appear on his own site).
We are now at a noteworthy point in time. The violence directed at the state of Israel by the Palestinians began two years ago this week. The anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon has everyone rather on edge. The 30th anniversary of the Black September Palestinian terrorist group's murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics just transpired. The Jewish New Year has just come, and the Day of Atonement is ahead of us. Issues that impinge somewhat on the interests of Israel are very much in the forefront of the news right now. With that, anti-semitism has also made a significant re-emergence on the fringe of political discourse in this country.
Now it is an historic fact that there has always been an anti-semitic strain in both Catholicism and conservatism. I was reminded of the former last night. My wife and I are watching the excellent TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. Lady Cordelia Flyte spoke of a chant that begins "Quomodo sedet sola civitas..." (roughly, "Thus is settled the whole world..."). I was looking it up in an old Tridentine missal of my parents, knowing that it had to be somewhere in the Triduum. I didn't find it. But I did find the prayers for the Jewish people, which I can only characterize as grudging and back-handed. Fortunately, that prayer has been re-written in the Novus Ordo liturgy (one of the few changes for the better).
The anti-semitic strain in conservatism needs no further example than Pat Buchanan, who just the other day in the New Republic (I don't read it, but it was quoted in National Review On Line), lashed out at various conservative pundits, enumerating Jonah Goldberg, William and Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Charles Krauthammer. He did include a few non-Jews as window dressing. But as usual with Buchanan, you could see what he was getting at.
All of which serves to remind us that anti-semitism remains too much with us. Some have yet to move beyond an attitude that blames Jews for various ills, and is suspicious of them because of the interests of Israel. I would point out to them something Don Feder talked of many years ago, the great convergence of interest between orthodox Catholics, observant Jews, and fundamentalist protestants on various political issues. I would also point out that, quite apart from the Jewish voting block in America, the US has a tremendous sympathy for the state of Israel- the Middle East's only democracy. We have common interests in eliminating Moslem terrorism. As a Christian nation, we want to see the places of significance for our Faith in the Holy Land under the control of a tolerant and sympathetic government. Israel has been that.
Anti-semitic attitudes are proving surprisingly difficult to get rid of. Stemming from unreasoning prejudice and centuries' old distaste, they seem to have a life of their own. But we at St. Blog's have to be careful to point out anti-semitism as we encounter it. When I see it, I plan to label it as such. So should we all. I applaud Mark Shea and TCR for doing so.
A Swedish politician calls for more porn on TV to counter low birthrate. Thanks to Iain Murray of The Edge of England's Sword (that is such a cool name for a blog!) for the link.