Saturday, October 05, 2002
Governor Frank Keating at Regis College yesterday said that the Church should endorse groups like VOTF. Utterly, utterly, wrong.
I can, in part, understand the call, coming as it does from a politician who sees one group very well organized, and on the other side...? What is on the other side? In fact, what is the other side? Is the other side a group of prevaricating bishops afraid to take a strong stand against homosexuality and dissent, lest they venture into political incorrectness?
As for laity on, for lack of a better term, the right of the Church, we have no over-arching umbrella group designed to push the American Church into closer obedience to Rome (A Catholic YAF or Moral Majority or NRA), to call the bishops, their staffs, and their national organization to unflinching orthodoxy. Faithful Voice is there, but their actions (attending Mass at the Cathedral in support of Cardinal Law) make them look like boot-lickers to a thoroughly discredited prelate. Roman Catholic Faithful exists, and even has a couple of scalps in its belt, but the leadership does not seem inclined to or suitable for taking the organization national in a way that would rival VOTF. There are other groups, but they lack the drive and organizational prowess that VOTF has admittedly shown. What is needed is something like Roman Catholic Faithful, but with more sophisticated and "ecumenically" conservative leadership, and a will to become the go-to group among orthodox laity.
And how would such an umbrella group come to exist from the conservative/traditionalist/orthodox side of the Church as it currently exists? If we were to be graded, "Does not play well with others," would predominate in our report cards. We are constantly at each other's throats, too busy commenting on the splinters in each other's eyes to notice the sequoias in the eyes of the left. This blog observes a "no enemies on the right", Eleventh Commandment ("Speak no ill of a fellow orthodox/conservative/traditionalist Catholic") policy, but few others do. The number of nit-picking spats between right-of-center journals and pundits is astonishing. There seems to be little desire to work together towards a common goal, as conservatives do in the political sphere. Until the day comes when we swallow our objections to each other's foibles, and form a united front, we should not be surprised when the hierarchy, and outside observers like Keating, think that VOTF is the only game in town, and pander to them, to the extent that they pander to any lay group. The dynamics of the situation would be completely changed if there existed a united, coherent conservative/orthodox/traditionalist lobby within the American laity.
Friday, October 04, 2002
The latest poll in the New Hampshire senate race shows Democrat Governor Jean Shaheen ahead by two points (46%-44%). A poll last weekend showed Republican Rep. John Sununu ahead 55%-34%. Both cannot be right, and twenty-point leads don't normally vanish in a week unless there has been some significant event (like an indictment, or a candidate being found in bed, as the saying goes, with a live boy, or a dead girl). I'd like to know more about the methodology of the two polls. Put this one in the "too-close-to-call" category, I guess.
Another sleeper cell of 6 American citizens who converted to Islam has been rounded up. The arrests took place in Portland, Oregon, Detroit, and overseas. More details later. In the meantime, Richard Reid, the British national who converted to Islam and tried to blow up an airliner with a bomb in his shoe just before Christmas, has pled guilty, though he does not recognize the US justice system.
I have seen some comparisons between the Justice Department's proactive stance on pre-empting terrorist activity with the Palmer Raids. But those who make the comparisons forget September 11th. There is a clear and present danger of Islamo-fascist terorism in this country. We have just learned from John Walker Lindh (Johnny Walker, Yellow, as Howie Carr likes to call him) that September 11th was to be the first of three escalatingly spectacular attacks on the US. He may be wrong, or may be playing on our fears to get a lighter sentence for his treason, but dare we take the chance?
The unofficial anti-Christian pogrom in Pakistan continues. Two men on motorcycles hurled a hand grenade at a Christian missionary hospital in Bannu, near the Afghan border. The Globe reports more details here.
This afternoon, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, the head of the lay review board set up by the US bishops to deal with the implementation of the sex abuse policy, will be addressing the Scandal at Regis College in Weston. I'll see if I can get a transcript, or link to an account later.
October, my favorite month, brings with it Halloween here in Salem. For the uninitiated, Salem's Halloween is not a mere evening, but a month-long street festival of haunted houses, ghost stories, autumn activities, lantern tours, and hundreds of people in costumes wandering the streets. Because of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, Salem has promoted itself for a century as "the Witch City." It has thus attracted probably the largest concentration of Wiccans, pagans, and other deluded people in the USA. New Age shops and fortune telling are misleading people on every street of the downtown. Each weekend between now and October 31st will see huge crowds wandering the streets of a city devoted to day tourism. Salem has a wonderful history of patriotism, maritime trade, literary accomplishment (Nathaniel Hawthorne) and a legacy of fine Federalist architecture. In fact, it is probably the natural center for New England conservatism. But the crowds don't come for that. They come for the witchcraft experience, which of course has nothing to do with the historic witch trials (as the victims of that were not really witches, but merely innocents accused by vengeful neighbors for their prosperity).
As there is a large desire on the part of young people and families to spend Halloween in Salem, there will be tens of thousands milling about on Halloween night right under my windows in a scene reminiscent of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Some of the revellers are drunken youths and some vandalism is done, but I will admit that vandalism has always, to some extent, been part of Halloween. The city does do a good job cleaning up. Last year, by the afternoon of All Saints' Day, there were few signs of the bacchanalia that took place on the streets the night before.
I enjoy parts of it, and dislike parts of it. It is fun (almost awe-inspiring) to watch the crowds from a few stories up, and convenient to step out my door and pick up some fried dough or mulled cider. But I miss just giving out candy to trick-or-treaters in my innocent old suburban West Peabody (pronounced Peabdy) neighborhood.
I decidedly dislike the proliferation of New Age shysters in Salem. Goths, punks, feminists, environmentalists, homosexuals, aged hippies, drug burn-outs, gypsies, and flim-flam artists (sometimes combinations thereof) make up the rank-and file of the Wiccan/pagan movement. They can be seen year-round behind the counters of Salem shops and in large numbers on its streets. We live in the middle of a pedestrian mall, closed to vehicles, which is the natural center of activities like this, and home to many of these shops. Last year, the "medium" from one of these New Age shops plopped himself down on a bench next to my wife and I, and, without the slightest encouragement from us, began to complain in a heavy lisp about how "taxing" it is to do 8 "readings" a day. I suppose it is taxing making up bull---- for 8 different people every day and trying to keep the lies straight. Would that these shops could be replaced with bakeries, tailors, cobblers, used book stores, hobby stores, and a supermarket.
And then there is traffic. Halloween in Salem produces gridlock of a kind unknown elsewhere in the western world. You think getting into Boston on a slick Monday is hard? Try Salem on Saturday, October 31st with nice weather. There are no good roads into Salem. Peabody refused to cooperate in building a multi-lane connector road to Salem, so we are left with a couple of single-lane roads that intersect Route 128. The traffic jams have been known to be 10 miles long. Forget about running out to the supermarket on a weekend, or driving to work on Halloween. If you can get back, you will never find a parking space.
For good or ill, it is starting. It is time for those of us who live in downtown Salem to hunker down, enjoy what we can, and endure the rest.
Though it cries out for redress, I doubt the Supreme Court will intervene in the blatant legislation of the New Jersey Supreme Court, as the voters have a chance to redress this obvious abuse in a month. The GOP has a good due process argument to make, that it has abided by the laws, and that changing the law in the middle of the election, after some absentee ballot votes have already been cast denies Doug Forrester procedural due process. But Justice Souter, George Bush 41's greatest mistake, is the duty officer of the Supreme Court at the moment. There will be no federal remedy for this wrong. Let us hope that the New Jersey voters redress it at the polls on November 5th.
FrontPage Magazine offers today the musings of John J. Ray on Leftism and Post-Religious Churches. I have no problem whatsoever with his assertion that mainline protestantism is dying, and that more fundamentalist forms of protestantism are replacing it. That much is obvious to anyone with eyes to see. Ray uses Anglicanism/Episcopalianism as his test case, but the same can be said of Congregationalism, Unitarianism, Methodism, Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, etc. The same general trend holds. The closer a denomination resembles the Democrat Party at prayer, the closer it is to fading into deserved oblivion. But his treatment of Catholicism leaves much to be desired.
He condemns "Catholic Socialism." and I have no problem there. Christ's prescriptions about going and selling all that one has and giving all to the poor are wonderful for individuals, at their own option, to follow. In fact, following that injunction without government coercion is far more praiseworthy than doing so through taxation and re-distribution. What genuine merit is there in supporting the poor through government coercion? To gain grace from the act, it must be a willed act on the part of the donor, not a forced one. I think it is worth noting that Christ never addressed these injunctions to governments, but to individuals. As a paradigm for governments, I prefer the miracle of the loaves and fishes, making wealth (from which individuals may donate freely) out of nothing through the agency (in Christ's case of His divine nature), in our circumstances, of self-interest, unfettered by government regulation and taxation as much as possible, as described by Adam Smith. Also note the praise of the servants who invested their master's money to make more of it for him, and his condemnation of the worthless servant who did not do so. Michael Novak has an excellent discussion of this in his book, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. Discipline, and self-restraint, combined with the freedom of democratic capitalism and Christian charity is the most noble and praiseworthy option for governments and individuals to follow. I yield the rest of the discussion here to Novak, and the authors of Toward The Future.
The effect that Ray points to, that the faithful in many countries regularly hear sermons that don't differ materially from marxist diatribes, is also obvious and regrettable. It contributed to the danger of communist takeover of Latin America in the 1980s, that had to be combatted (with more domestic angst than genuine difficulty) by the Reagan Administration. It is a shame that most clerics don't have the vaguest clue as to what makes an economy work. It is true in Latin America still. It is true here (and probably accounts in part for the affinity of the American hierarchy for the Democrat Party, which also has no clue), and, sadly, in Rome. Fortunately, discussions about the economy (and war & peace) are largely beyond the area of "faith and morals" in which the Magisterium operates in a binding manner. The recommended prescriptions of the Church here are owed respect and consideration.
Ray, however, goes too far in saying that Catholics are responsive to faith-based preaching, because they respond enthusiastically to the Society of Pius X. First of all, I have never seen any evidence that Catholics are particularly enthusiastic about this movement. The post-Vatican II reforms were met by an admittedly lazy and lax laity and clerisy with a collective sigh of relief. The Latin Mass has appeal aesthetically and is missed by many, but can be enjoyed fully within the Church through indult Masses, and the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, where they are allowed to function. The Pius X Society is schismatic, and has left the Church and genuine Catholicism behind. Obedience was required, and they refused to obey. Even calling "Catholic" those who refuse to admit the legitimacy of the Holy Father and the Second Vatican Council is quite misleading. Using these schismatics as the model of Catholic enthusiasm for the Faith is disturbing. One can differ to some extent on teachings that do not directly relate to "faith and morals" but one cannot deny the legitimacy of Church councils and Popes and stay within the Church. Ray would have been wiser to have left the examples of continuing popular piety at pilgrims, and members of various fellowships. I take it Ray is not Catholic, and has little exposure to Catholics, because his ear is decidedly made of tin on issues he discusses here regarding the Church. He would have done well to temper his discussion of Catholic economic thought with a perusal of Novak and the Lay Commission On Catholic Social Teaching and the US Economy.
Ray's assertion that the Church's difficulty in assimilating the modern world must be minimal because fundamentalists have integrated married clergy and contraception is absurd. First of all, he is holding up heretics as an example to the True Church, which is utterly unacceptable. The theological difficulties of accepting contraception are not very great for protestants because they have placed themselves outside the great tradition of the Catholic Faith. It is true that the Catholic Church has accomodated various pagan holidays like Christmas and All Saints' Day by giving them a Christian meaning. But there were no impediments to doing so. These holidays belonged in the Christian calendar somewhere, and co-opting the ancient pagan festivals with them made sense, and still does make sense. Accomodating the heresy of modernism by bending to contraception (and priestesses, and openly homosexual clergy, and homosexuality, and bestiality, and swinging, and pre-marital sex, and pornography, and feminism, and need I continue?) is not in the cards. Maybe the Unitarians have already bent to much of this, but the True Church never will, no matter what is going on in the culture outside the Church.
I take no issue with one of Ray's concluding points:
So it is far from true that Christianity is Leftist. What is true is that the Churches which have LOST their traditional Christian values have become Leftist. But he paints the Catholic Church as further to the left than it actually is.
Today George Will dissects the torturing of the democratic process and the rule of law in New Jersey, courtesy of the robed third branch of the New Jersey legislature. Townhall.com carries his column here. A new collection of his columns is also out. it is called With A Happy Eye, But... , and is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.
Today was, is, and hopefully always will be the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Born the son of a rich cloth merchant, Francis Bernardone led a frivolous youth, but was transformed by divine grace in the jails of Perugia. He embraced poverty, going barefoot, wearing rough clothes, begging at the gates to towns, and preaching purity of heart and universal peace.
He was joined by disciples who became the first Friars Minor in 1209. In 1212, Clare of Assisi joined him, and began the process of founding the Sisters of Charity (later called the Poor Clares). In 1222, a third order was founded. Desiring martyrdom, St. Francis made three attempts to reach Moslem countries. Only on the last attempt was he succcessful in reaching hostile shores, though his hosts treated him courteously, and denied him martyrdom.
Francis was a lover of all God's creation, and is famous for his affinity for the animals and birds. He is credited with creation of the first Christmas creche. He also swept out churches, sent food to thieves hiding in the woods, and cared for lepers. In 1221, he was displaced as head of the Franciscans by reformers, the fate of many saints who founded orders. In September 1224, on Mount Alvernia, he received the stigmata. On October 3, 1226, he stretched himself naked on the bare ground and waited for death. He died while trying to sing.
Saint Francis is one of the best-loved of all saints. His order still thrives. Pope Benedict XV called him, "the most perfect image of Christ that ever was."
Thursday, October 03, 2002
Thanks to Amy Welborn for the link. The funniest part is that he did this to himself because he thought there would be a shortage of antibiotics because of Y2K. It reminds me of the Rush Limbaugh parody of Ross Perot talking to his aides from the bunker while the chaos caused by Y2k subsides (in mid-2001).
I am most amused at the on-line petition to change the name of the forthcoming adaptation of the Tolkien classic (the second part of the trilogy) The Two Towers, because it "obviously" refers to the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The funniest part is that, as of this writing, 3,598 uttter, blithering ignoramuses have taken the time to sign it.
Paul Johnson lays out historical and strategic reasons for taking out Iraq, and whatever other rogue or jackal states appear to pose a threat. Who says all the Europeans are weak-kneed, bed-wetting pacifists? Oh, but Johnson is a Thatcherite Tory, and would probably object to being called a European anyway.
Father Matthew Lamb, writing in National Review On Line puts theological dissent right where it belongs in the Scandal: front-and-center. Even better, Father Lamb is part of the Theology Department at Boston College, along with Peter Kreeft. I was cheering almost every word as I read it.
Mitchell Garabedian, Esq. filed 17 new lawsuits against defrocked priest John Geoghan. In two of the suits, Cardinal Law is named as a defendant. Bishop Thomas Daily is named in some of them. The alleged incidents, all against male victims, took place between 1964 and 1996. The allegations range from unwanted touching to actual homosexual rape. The Boston Globe has more details here.
Townhall.com also carries David Limbaugh's column on why the Democrats deserve their anti-military, anti-war, anti-US interests reputation.
Ross Mackenzie, writing in TownHall.com notes that the old anti-war horses of the 1960s have found an outlet for their inanity on the way to the geriatric ward.
The Archdiocese of Boston indicated that it most likely will appeal a judge's order to release personnel files on 87 priests accused of sexual abuse in the last 50 years.
Keep up the stone-walling, guys. This is not helping public relations. It is feeding VOTF's call for "transparency." If the truth is scandalous, it is better that the truth come out, rather than falsehood be taken for the truth. After all, how much worse can the public relations situation get now? Most people already think the Archdiocese was operating for the last 50 years an unofficial Boston branch of NAMBLA. "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out," as the Emporer Claudius was given to saying (at least according to Robert Graves).
Well, we knew that anyway. But Henry Mark Holzer, author of Aid and Comfort: Jane Fonda in North Vietnam, tackles them directly, and points out the FRCP Rule 11 implications for the attorneys who have participated in them, in today's FrontPage Magazine.
The New Jersey Supreme Court sided with the Democrats (a look at the party affiliation of the justices shows 4 Democrats, 2 Republicans, and an Independent, though all but one were appointed by Governor Christie Todd Whitman, who has now gone off to mismanage the EPA, leaving New Jersey Republicans in the lurch) and allowed them to substitute superannuated former senator Frank Lautenberg's name on the ballot for the corrupt Torricelli, who was trailing badly. Perhaps Republicans should go to court today and let it be known that Doug Forrester wishes to drop out of the race, but Rudy Giuliani would like to get in.
Mark Sullivan at Ad Orientem has compiled from various sources discussions of Opus Dei, whose founder Josemaria Escriva will be canonized Sunday. But the question remains, other than having a lot of influence in the Vatican and taking mortification of the flesh rather far, what else do they do? Perhaps the secrecy of the organization makes it impossible to know.
Today is the traditional feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux, whom we discussed Tuesday on her feast under the reformed calendar.
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
These are the words of a VOTF spokesman in a Boston Herald article today. He is talking about the Church. So VOTF is troubled because they are not consulted by the Church when it makes a decision. How arrogant! The Church has no obligation to consult any lay group. I doubt very much that the Holy Name Society is consulted on anything, either. But you don't see them bitching.
I wrote yesterday that the VOTF types are heading for Episcopalianism or Unitarianism (or maybe an American Catholic Church). Here is more evidence. Anyone faithful to Rome ought to avoid VOTF like the plague. They have made up their mind about where they are going, even if they say the opposite in public. The Holy Spirit may call some of them back from their highly imprudent and self-centered objectives. But that is between them and the Holy Spirit.
At National Review On Line, Michael Novak provides his view on de Tocqueville's insistence that religion is the foundation for American democracy.
Today the Church honors our Guardian Angels. So valuable is the human soul that each of us has the protection of a Guardian Angel from the moment of conception, according to Saint Jerome. These Guardians enhance our work and study, pray for us constantly, and preserve us from physical danger and temptation. This feast was started in Spain in the 16th century. In 1679, Pope Clement X extended this feast to the universal Church, and moved it from September 29th (it was celebrated in conjunction with Michaelmas) to October 2nd.
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Ever this day, be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide.
Fred Barnes, writing in the Weekly Standard, has a solid take on the shennanigans the Democrats are about to try in New Jersey.
Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday that regime change in Iraq would be welcome no matter how it came about, that the cost of one bullet fired by an Iraqi would save the cost and trouble of war. Now the Good Government libs are having a cow. "How dare a presidential spokesman endorse assassination of a head of state?" Chill.
I'll be blunt. There are about a half-dozen world leaders whose assassination would save the free world a lot of trouble, and would bring liberty to their enslaved people. Fidel Castro, Moammar Khadafy, Assad, Jr. of Syria, the current Ayatollah in Iran, Saddam, and the certifiable lunatic running North Korea are all people whose demise, however it happened, would be a great step forward for the cause of freedom, and a very welcome opportunity for US policy. These changes would further our policy at much lower cost than military action. Other world powers through history have been clear-headed enough to recognize this fact.
I have no problem with the Administration merely stating the obvious. or acting on that wisdom. Would anyone waste a tear on Saddam, or any of these other menaces to humanity? Cry for our own lost innocence? Don't bother, states are never innocent. They particularly cannot afford ideals in their dealings with brutal enemies. With regard to them, states only have interests, not morality.
John Perazzo, writing for FrontPage Magazine, points to the bigotry and virulent anti-Semitism that is behind the current application of Jihad.
Thomas Sowell has some good news on race and IQ in today's Wasington Times.
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Tonight is the second debate in the race for Massachusetts governor between Republican Mitt Romney and Shannon O'Brien, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the public employee unions.
National Review On Line's Dave Kopel has an great analysis of New Jersey election law as it pertains to the Torricelli seat.
National Review On Line's John Derbyshire has a trenchant column on the up-side of hate in human conflict.
Thirty-five years ago today, the Red Sox clinched the "Impossible Dream" pennant of 1967, the team of Yaz, Jim Lonborg, Rico Petrocelli, George Scott, and Mike Andrews. This scribe was at the thoughful age of three then, and didn't take an interest in baseball until 1972. But the 1967 experience is etched on the collective psyche of New England. Thanks for the memory, Mark, at the end of this dismal season.
One of our most distinguished jurists was born on this date in 1924.
A miracle has been officially attributed to Mother Theresa by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Holy Father will most likely approve the miracle by the end of the year, which will make Mother Theresa officially, Blessed Mother Theresa.
State Party Dem. Republican Who's Ahead
Alabama Rep. Susan Parker Sen. Sessions Sessions*
Alaska Rep. Frank Vondersaar Sen. Stevens Stevens*
Arkansas Rep. Mark Pryor Sen. Hutchinson Pryor -
Colorado Rep. Tom Strickland Sen. Allard Toss-up -
Delaware Dem. Sen. Biden Ray Clatworthy Biden -
Georgia Dem. Sen. Cleland Sax Chambliss Cleland -
Idaho Rep. Alan Blinken Sen. Craig Craig*
Illinois Dem. Sen. Durbin James Durkin Durbin -
Iowa Dem. Sen. Harkin Rep. Ganske Harkin -
Kansas Rep. No Democrat Sen. Roberts Roberts *
Kentucky Rep. Lois Weinberg Sen. McConnell McConnell *
Louisiana Dem. Sen. Landrieu Primary pending Landrieu -
Maine Rep. Primary pending Primary pending Collins*
Massachusetts Dem. Sen. Kerry No Republican Kerry -
Michigan Dem. Sen. Levin A.Raczkowski Levin -
Minnesota Dem. Sen. Wellstone Norm Coleman Toss-up *
Mississippi Rep. Primary pending Sen. Cochrane Cochrane *
Montana Dem. Sen. Baucus Mike Taylor Baucus -
Nebraska Rep. Charlie Matulka Sen. Hagel Hagel *
New Hampshire Rep. Gov. Shaheen Rep. Sununu Sununu *
New Jersey Dem. ? Doug Forrester ?
New Mexico Rep. Gloria Tristani Sen. Domenici Domenici*
North Carolina Rep. Erskine Bowles Elizabeth Dole Dole*
Oklahoma Rep. David Walters Sen. Inhof Inhof*
Oregon Rep. Bill Bradbury Sen. Smith Smith*
Rhode Island Dem. Sen. Reed Robert Tingle Reed -
South Carolina Rep. Alex Sanders Rep. Graham Graham*
South Dakota Dem. Sen. Johnson Rep. Thune Toss-up *
Tennessee Rep. Bob Clement Lamar Alexander Alexander *
Texas Rep. Ron Kirk John Cornyn Cornyn*
Virginia Rep. No Democrat Sen. Warner Warner*
West Virginia Dem. Sen. Rockefeller Jay Wolfe Rockefeller -
Wyoming Rep. Joyce Corcoran Sen. Enzi Enzi*
I apologize for the uneven columns, but Blogger does not let you tab in "edit your blog." The first column is the name of the state. the second is the party that currently controls the seat. The third column is the Democrat candidate. The fourth column is the Republican candidate. The last column is the likely winner
Data on these races from the US Chamber of Commerce, and Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
Twenty seats are held by Republicans, and thirteen by Democrats.
* Likely Republican win
- Likely Democrat win
As the races stand now, about 5 weeks out, 20 seats should be won by the Republicans (though that includes unseating two weak incumbent Democrats). The Democrats should win 12 seats (but that includes unseating two weak Republican incumbents). That leaves New Jersey. If everything else works out as currently suggested, the New Jersey seat will decide who controls the Senate. That is why the parties are ramping up for a major legal and political battle over replacing Torricelli as the Democrat candidate. If they are not allowed to slime a candidate in by the corrupt New Jersey legal and political system, they have no candidate, unless Torricelli revokes his withdrawal (or, more precisely, Torricelli's name stays on the ballot). If the plain language of the statute is followed, and the other elections work out, Republicans get 50 seats in the next Senate. Democrats get 49, plus an independent (the treacherous Jeffords of Vermont, whom God preserve, or preferably, not) who caucuses with the Democrats. Vice President Cheney breaks tie votes in the Senate, so Republicans would control despite the 50/49+1 tie.
The better question for the American people is, why do we want our political institutions gridlocked like this? Wasn't the Florida nonsense of 2 years ago a wake-up call? Can't we agree at this time of war to give the party best able to handle national security issues a clear majority of 4-5 seats? Couldn't the Republicans have come up with a better candidate against Baucus, whose state votes Republican consistently, or against Landrieu (Louisiana also votes Republican in presidential elections most of the time).
Why did the Massachusetts Republican party fail to find a businessman, a war hero, or a retired athlete to take on Kerry? The Democrats have to be diappointed that they failed to recruit candidates against John Warner and Pat Roberts.
Louisiana, Maine, and Mississippi still have not had their primaries. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute!
Next, I'll see what I can do to get National Right-To-Life rankings or endorsements on these races.
The idea of having Senator Torricelli drop out of the New Jersey election 35 days before the primary, when all the statutes say this can only be done 48 or 51 days before the election, and no closer to it, has caused a genuine electoral mess. There is no way an honest court can allow a substitute candidate to be put into the race. Many ballots are already printed and absentee ballots are in the mail. So the Democrats will do what they did in Florida in 2000, and try to find a dishonest court. The New Jersey Supreme Court, like the Florida Supreme Court then, has a Democrat majority, and has agreed to hear the case on an emergency basis.
Torricelli should have stayed in the race and taken his beating like a man. The Democrats could offset the loss in in New Jersey with a win in New Hampshire, where a popular female governor is taking on a congressman. Republican Jim Talent may take the Missouri seat currently held by Jean the Clueless Carnahan. But Phil Gramm's decision to retire has very much put his Texas seat in play. Tom Harkin is in trouble, but has been there before, and may yet prevail. A draw, where the parties end up holding the same number of seats that they have now only works to the advantage of the Democrats. We really need to take 4 of the the seats in Texas, Missouri, Iowa, New Jersey, and New Hampshire, as well as not lose any of the other open seats (the two in the Carolinas) in order to insure genuine Republican control of the Senate. It is an up-hill battle to say the least.
George Will's column on "Baghdad Bonior" and the traitorous Rep. McDermott is very much worth a look today. TownHall.com carries it here.
This is the feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux, "the Little Flower" according to the reformed calendar of feasts. Her traditional feast is Thursday. She has become one of the most popular saints in Christendom. And as she was a Carmelite, she is of special interest to me (my birthday is July 16th, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel).
She was born in Alencon in January, 1873. Of her parents' nine children, only 5 daughters survived, all of whom became nuns. By the time she reached age 8 both of her parents had died, so that she was brought up by the Benedictines of Lisieux. In April, 1888, she entered the Carmelite convent at Lisieux. After holding the usual series of minor offices at the convent, she became assistant novice mistress in 1893.
She pioneered what she called the "little way," offering up even the tiniest sacrifice. She began her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, in 1894. From April 1896, she began to cough blood, and seemed to be deprived of spiritual sureness. Her final illness began on September 30, 1897. Her last written words were, "I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth." She died in the early hours of October 1, 1897.
She is widely venerated and imitated for her "little way." She has had an enormous impact on the piety of the Carmelite order, and the Latin Rite in general.
Jonah Goldberg of National Review On Line brought back this goodie from the Archives:
"Robert Torricelli, this small, beady, toady man is merciless, smart, pompous, vindictive, narcissistic, conniving, mercenary, and opportunistic. Sorry for beating around the bush. I guess what I'm trying to say is that he is the greasy gunk that accumulates in the garbage disposal of democracy. "
Can't beat that assesment with a stick.
Monday, September 30, 2002
People with no job skills to speak of should be loath to form unions and threaten strikes. They can easily be replaced in this job market.
Stanley Kurtz at National Review On Line has an excellent column today on the driving necessity of a campaign on Iraq, though he should integrate more of Bill Gertz' work in establishing the direct link between al Qaeda and Iraq.
The official line from Torricelli is that he will resign if the Democrat Party can find a "suitable replacement." To paraphrase Lord Cornwallis' character in The Year of the French, they will respond, I imagine, with alacrity.
Speculation is rampant that Bill Clinton will try to establish residence in New Jersey to take Torricelli's seat. I doubt that, though. Slick Willie doesn't have the b---s to try it. He would be subject to too much political give-and-take, while he is trying to establish his legacy (a little late). He wants to stay above the fray, which he can't do in the Senate (or in a senate race). He probably would win, but I hope Forrester would not be chary about blackening Clinton's reputation further. I'd sure volunteer to help. A Slick Willie Moment would be a fun daily feature here at Verus Ratio, though I and most Americans would just prefer that odious man to just fade away.
Fellow Salemite and cigar lover Domenico Bettinelli is reporting that either a new or co-adjutor Archbishop of Boston will be appointed by the Holy Father, perhaps this week. The collapse of the Archdiocese's finances in the wake of the Scandal is the likely reason for the coming move. The two names heard most frequently are Archbishop Edward O'Brien of the US Armed Forces Chaplains, or Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver. I would have preferred Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, who is really what Boston needs, but let us keep an open mind on O'Brien and Chaput. I have found all of the ex-miltary chaplains I have dealt with solid fellows who can deal with a variety of people rather well. They are often very good preachers, and don't come across as if they were addressing an audience of 4 year-olds like Cardinal Law does (or Al Gore, who has the same unfortunate speech habit). Michael Rose in Goodbye, Good Men, has lots of good things to say about Archbishop Chaput, who has apparently turned around Denver with a Bruskewitz-like program of orthodoxy. But I don't know anything else about him. Anybody have more to add?
I believe it is certain that Torricelli is dropping out of the race, with either Bill Bradley or Frank Lautenberg appointed to replace him. Bradley would be tougher for Forrester. But I would not be over-confident, if I were a Republican strategist. Remember the "certainty" that John Ashcroft would be re-elected after Governor Carnahan died?
When the New York Times announced that it would publish gay and lesbian civil union announcements, I told you it would not be long before the Boston Globe, which is owned by the same parent company as the NYT, followed suit. It has let it be known that it will begin publishing the announcements. So, the special status of marriage and the traditional family is further eroded in public perception, and we move another step closer to Europe's Sodom and Gamorrah atmosphere. Immorality is celebrated, and self-actualization is favored over duty and obligation. If it feels right, do it, and shove it in the faces of everyone else until they become numb and indifferent to it. When some other pervert longs to proclaim to the world (and legalize) his "special relationship" with his Border Collie, will we soon be treated to that announcement in the newspapers?
O, tempora! O, mores!
New Jersey Democrat Senator Robert Torricelli may pull out of the race this afternoon. He is trailing his Republican opponent badly, in part due to corruption charges. The Democrats could put up former senator Frank Lautenberg as a replacement. We'll know more later.
Rowan Scarborough in the Washington Times, writes that many analysts have come to the conclusion that Osama bin Laden is dead. The evidence is inconclusive. But the absence of evidence that he is still alive is interesting.
Is the above construction beginning to annoy you, also? While wandering around Greater Boston touristing with the in-laws this weekend, I heard it several times from passersby. I don't have a great deal of contact with young people normally, but I must confess to being heartily sick of this phrase from overhearing cashier conversations, and snippets from passersby. It has been in use for years now, though I have never seen any comments about it.
First of all, it is very imprecise. "I was, like..., " can either mean that the speaker thought what followed, felt it, or perhaps even said it. But you cannot tell which the speaker means. And it is a distinction with a difference. Presumably, the listener would like to know both what the speaker actually said, and what they actually thought about whatever situation is the basis for the conversation. But "I was, like... ," conveys nothing so clear. It implies all, but asserts nothing. Very often, the correct replacement for, "I was, like," is "I said ...to him, but I actually thought... ." Sometimes, it is "What he said (or did), made me feel... ." It blurs the distinction between what one thinks, what one says, and how one feels.
One wonders why "I was, like...," came into usage. Was it an effort to evade admitting to a process of thought? How typical that would be; thought replaced by being. It is no longer, "I think, therefore I am," but rather, "I am, therefore I feel." Was it an effort to convey emotional state, while ignoring the conventions of narrative relation? Were did it come from?
Whatever its source, if you catch your kids using it teach them a better way. And if they keep using it, take steps to discourage it. It is time to do something to preserve the language.
This weekend saw the merciful termination of the Red Sox 2002 season. They last won a World Series in 1918. The Patriots appear to have been over-confident, and lost to the Chargers by a touchdown. The Europeans won back the Ryder Cup. But Boston College bounced back from last week's loss and shut out their opponent. The Eagles are now 4-1.
Today, the Church also honors Saint Conrad, a thirteenth century prelate who was almost elected Pope. A parish priest complained to him that Dominicans had preached in his parish and collected alms there. When told that the priest had some 9,000 parishioners, Conrad rebuked him, "And you, who must give account before the tribunal of God for the salvation of every one of them, you find it a bad thing that holy monks come to help you save them?"
I bring this up in the context of one of the few thriving orders of the Roman Church, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. Sanctioned by the Holy Father, the PFSP has the sanction to say Tridentine-Rite Masses in dioceses where bishops permit them to establish themselves. Very few bishops have invited the PFSP into their dioceses, despite the Holy Father's sanction of the order, and despite the staffing problems most US bishops have. Can these bishops, who will be accountable for millions of souls, refuse the help of those the Holy Father has sanctioned to provide it?
The Democrats have taken the bait that President Bush's efforts on Iraq have offered them. Senators Kennedy and Daschle, former Vice President Gore and a host of Democrat House members, most prominently Rep. Jim McDermott, who has just made a pilgrimage to Baghdad, have decided to nail their liberal pacifist colours to the mast and go down with the anti-war ship. Fine with me.
This is perfectly timed for the electorate to see what a lunatic fringe the anti-war movement is. If the first rule of life is to not get involved in a land war in Asia, the second is to not stand in the way of a successful war effort, or say anything that tends to undermine national moral cohesion going into a war's new phase. The Democrats have managed to put themselves on the wrong side of a vitally important national consensus and made the war effort an election issue. There can be no doubt which party is more staunch in matters of war. Those who take counsel of their pacifism can be expected to pay a price in November. If the Democrats keep this up, the Republicans may hold both houses in January despite themselves.
Note to those compiling this afternoon's Republican talking points: today is the anniversary of the 1938 Munich agreement. The connections are obvious. Appease Saddam and tolerate another haven for al Qaeda, or take arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them. Neville Daschle, anyone?
Bill O'Reilly may be no match for Rush Limbaugh on the radio, but his column today, reprinted in FrontPage Magazine, on the dysfunctional hatred of the Moslem world for the Jewish people, and by extension, for the US, is pretty clear-sighted. Last year, John Derbyshire in National Review On Line wrote even more effectively on the irrational fantasy world of contemporary Moslems.
Today, the Church honors one of her most important doctors, Saint Jerome, the translator of the Vulgate. Jerome's early days seem to have been a matter of trial and error, reaching out to find his way to God. He was born around 347 in Dalmatia and received a classical education. He seems to have been a bit wild as a youth, but was received into the Church in 365. He studied theology, and settled into a cenobitic life. Then he travelled in the East, living in the Syrian desert, being ordained at Antioch, and studying at Constantinople.
He became secretary to Pope Damasus at Rome in 382, but stayed only three years. He had served as director for a group of pious women, and unfounded reports of scandal began to circulate. One of the women generously built a monastery for him in Bethlehem, and, at the orders of Damasus, he took himself there to compile his translation of Holy Scripture. It took Jerome 30 years to complete the Vulgate. His other works, which include exegesis, biographies, letters, and histories, are voluminous.
As recently as 1920, Pope Benedict XV called Jerome, "The greatest doctor given [the Church] by Heaven for the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures."
I was looking through Michelle's new blog, And Then? , and found it a sometimes humorous and always well-written journal. Michelle discusses an issue I have wanted to get to for a while, but have never quite been able to make time for: Father Mychel Judge. When I first heard that he was allegedly gay, I knew that the homosexual movement would soon be pressing for canonization. For the record, Father Judge died doing as God commanded him, giving solace and absolution to those going into danger and those dying. He may well have a place in Heaven because of that regardless of anything else.
But how many military chaplains were killed in action or died of disease in the the War of Independence, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam? Are the faithful Catholics among them not equally worthy of sainthood? And calling Father Judge a martyr is rather an overstatement. He was not murdered because he was a Catholic. He was murdered, along with all the others who died that day, because he was an American getting on with his daily business. As a fire chaplain, Father Judge's job was to be at the base of the World Trade Center, just as the job of an army chaplain is to be sometimes under enemy fire. He died on the job, like a priest suddenly stricken while saying Mass. That does not make him ipso facto a saint. He may well be a saint, if the competent authorities decide he meets the criteria. But let us not raise him to the altars of the Church merely because some claim he was gay. But may he, and all those who died that day, rest in peace.
Townhall.com carries Suzanne Fields' column on the return to more formal dress on Wall Street. Brooks Brothers and Louis Boston have been advertising that the suit is back. Bear Stearns has made it official policy. Suits for men are now required there. Jackets are to be worn on casual Fridays. Other companies will surely follow. It is about time. The revolution in business clothing has finally reached Thermidor. If only Huntington Clothiers had held on for another year.
Since my job requires only very rare eye-to-eye contact with other people, I have fallen into the polo, khakis, and sneakers habit while working, putting on a suit only for meetings. But employees (and employers) who do frequently work with others should cultivate a professional demeanor. Since I have studied the matter in some depth, here is my quick primer for men who suddenly find themselves required to get serious with their business clothing after years in Arcadia.
The easiest entry point to a new and more serious atmosphere is the suit (and the school uniform in the academic context). Like school uniforms, suits have something of a mild transforming effect on the wearer. More importantly, John Molloy proved in the 1970s and 1980s that they have a significant effect on how the wearer is perceived by others. And in business, if you are taken seriously from the outset because of what you are wearing, that helps the transaction along. If one is not taken seriously from the outset, one runs a higher risk of failure. It is best to minimize the risk.
By the same logic, people in business should go out of their way to wear suits that are not merely trendy, but serious. Odd colors or polyester content, or the latest Italian or English cut should be avoided. Colors for the serious suit range all the way from navy blue to charcoal grey. The best and most serious suits (and the only suitable ones for men with a belly) are the undarted, center-vent, three-button, natural-shouldered models J. Press and Brooks Brothers sell. Vests have become very hard to find. But, if the trend continues, they will be back next year.
It is time to ditch the dark and earth-toned shirts that have been popular, and return to the white, light blue, pale yellow, or conservative striped-on-white shirts that were the norm 10-20 years ago (in fact they are basics no business shirt wardrobe should be without). It should go without saying that pocket flaps, western styling, epaulettes, and short sleeves, are not worn on business shirts by people who want to be taken seriously. Avoid the white collar and cuffs on a blue body favored by Patriots' owner Bob Kraft. The Brooks Brothers button-down oxford cloth shirt works best for most men (and is also cut full in the body, which some of us need).
Ties? Forget the splashy florals, the lewd, comic, or themed ties that men started to wear when they became bored with traditional ties. Send your Rush Limbaugh ties to the Salvation Army. Repp ties, foulards, emblematic club ties, and on casual day, a tastefully small paisley, will be the hallmarks of this new seriousness.
For accessories, the man of affairs has nice things, but minimizes them. Jewelry should consist of a wristwatch, and either one class ring or a wedding ring. Period. End of list. Take the ring out of your nose. Playtime is over. Ditch the earrings, unless you want to work for Long John Silver, not Brown Brothers Harriman. Forget about wearing things around your neck. Religious medals and scapulars go in your pocket with your rosary. I know Our Lady promised release from Purgatory for those wearing the Brown Scapular. But I'm sure Our Lady understands and will not take it amiss if it is merely on your person at the hour of death. If you can afford a Rolex, fine. Nothing sells like the aura of success. If you can't, a Timex with no gadgets, but just a dial with three hands and a date indicator will work. Belts should be simple black leather. If you wear glasses, check out what Polo by Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers have available for frames. Haircut? Go to your local Joe the Barber and try the Tom Ridge look (I've worn it for 20 years) or something similar.
For shoes, the simple black leather lace-up, with either a cap toe or wing-tip is appropriate with a suit. Save the argyle socks (even the dark ones) for weekends. Some men can get away with a conservative print on their dark socks. But since most of us can't pull it off, stick with solid black and navy blue socks with a very high cotton content. If you can afford to spring for cashmere, try just one pair. But be careful, you might become addicted.
What do you wear over a suit in the winter? A cotton khaki Burberry's (or a reasonable facsimile) trenchcoat with button-out lining and collar or a simple cotton Balmaccan raincoat work best. A chesterfield, or a double-breasted camel hair overcoat will get you through the worst cold. Black leather gloves (no mittens after second grade), and a conservative muffler finish the look. Protect the nice shoes with black rubber slipovers in nasty weather. Road salt ruins the finish on black leather shoes. No sense wasting money.
Hats present a problem. There is the utilitarian argument that, in cold weather, most body heat is lost through the top of the head. But there are so few good hats for men on the market. The ones that look half-way decent are very flimsy felt that will not hold a shape. Nothing looks more ridiculous than ski caps with a business suit. I've seen trial lawyers on their way into court decked out like that many times. Unless you want to spring for a really nice hat for winter wear, it is best to just do without. Escape the cold by getting inside as quickly as you can. But, if you must, give Mike the Hatter a try.
Well, there you are. It will all cost a few thousand, but it is worth it. Follow this advice, coordinate yourself properly, and you will be guaranteed to not be tossed out the door like a common tinker. The rest of the transaction's success depends upon your merit, contacts, knowledge, your company, and its products. Can't help you there.
We had a nice time with family this weekend, and were blessed with lovely weather. I've been busy analyzing the Asian and European markets and the US futures for the last 5 hours. There is always so much work to catch up with when one is busy with other things for a few days (even when two of them fall on a weekend). But the world does not wait for us to catch up, does it?
Sunday, September 29, 2002
Today, or whenever September 29th does not fall on a Sunday, the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. In the past, the Archangels Gabriel and Raphael had feast days of their own, but the reformers linked them together with Saint Michael and all the angels in today's feast.
The Archangel Michael was the protector of the Hebrew people, and has been adopted by the Church as its guardian and the guardian of all Christian souls from the snares of Satan. The cult of Michael came about early (in some places he replaced the pagan god Mercury in popular devotion) and is widespread throughout Christendom. There are many churches dedicated to him, the most famous of which is Mont St. Michel in Normandy, built about 709, and the subject of Henry Adams' inspection in the last century.
Michaelmas was important in medieval and early modern Europe not so much for its religious observance, or for revelry, but because it falls at the end of a quarter. Lady Day (sometimes called "Ladymas"), known to us as the feast of the Annunciation (March 25th) comes at the end of the first quarter. St. John the Baptist's Day (Midsummer Day-June 24th; Eamon Duffy or Ronald Hutton may prove me wrong, but I don't think there is any record of anyone in the West ever calling it "Johnmas") marks the end of the second quarter. Michaelmas does the same for the third quarter, and Christmas finishes the fourth quarter and the year. Quarterly rents tended to be due on these days. Court terms opened on them, and Michaelmas marks the opening of the academic year at Oxford and Cambridge (and even some schools like Harvard in America). A present to the landlord for Michaelmas, usually in the form of food, was customary to preserve one's lease.
Signifer Sanctus Michael repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam.
The family visit is going nicely. Last night, we had the Harvest Home dinner. Today we take them touristing. Back to work and regular blogging tomorrow.