Friday, April 30, 2010

The Associated Press: Functional Illiterates

Saw this headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Black bears emigrate from Arkansas to Missouri

Oh good Lord.

The definition: "To leave one country or region to settle in another."

Bears never settle. Don't believe me Mr. AP writer? Let's look at the usage under the word "migrate."

Usage Note: Migrate, which is used of people and animals, sometimes implies a lack of permanent settlement, especially as a result of seasonal or periodic movement. Emigrate and immigrate are used only of people and imply a permanent move, generally across a political boundary.

Please, I beg of you, learn the language.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sick

From Power Line:

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings this afternoon on the nomination of Judge Robert Chatigny to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Chatigny can expect plenty of skepticism about his suitability, given his handling of a case involving Michael Ross, a Connecticut serial killer who raped and murdered at least eight women and girls.

The facts are summarized in this article in the American Spectator. Chatigny found that the sexual sadism of Ross -- known as the Roadside Strangler -- was a mitigating factor in his case. He went so far as to state that, given his sadism, Ross "never should have been convicted, or if convicted, he never should have been sentenced to death."

Let me get this straight. This "judge" was seriously arguing that this rapist/murderer should not be convicted of the crimes he committed because said rapist/murderer really, really enjoyed what he was doing?

I'm sorry, but no "judge" who could harbor such an idea can be trusted to protect the legal rights of Americans, in any context.

Go read the whole thing. The lunacy goves even further.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Talk About Missing The Point


Read this where the sometimes reliable Ann Althouse misses the Freedom of Speech issue in favor of the "lets all sing kumbaya" approach:

I have endless contempt for the threats/warnings against various cartoonists who draw Muhammad (or a man in a bear suit who might be Muhammad, but is actually Santa Claus).

You have contempt for fascism. Good. That is something I suppose:

But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats.

So I should countenance censorship as a result? I'm sorry there are things in the world that upset sensitive Muslim types, but tough titty. Welcome to the real world. How many nice, kind, practicing Catholics have been offended by the anti-Catholic zeal of the MSM over the last 20 years? The answer, of course, is untold millions. But no one is suggesting we should censor anyone to defend Catholic sensibilities. You know why? Because, Catholics are not going out and murdering those who they dislike. Some Muslims are doing exactly that, and the vast majority of Muslim do nothing to stop it.

And get Ann's attempt at "logic" on this point:

In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren't doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).



How is allowing extremists to define what their faith is an example of anyone "protecting their own interests"? It would be just as consistent to look at these silent Muslims and believe they actually support the goals of the extremists but they are simply too cowardly to do anything about it themselves. But Ann believes it is better to NOT chastise them for looking on silently while other murder in their name than to expose them to cartoons of the "prophet."

I don't like the in-your-face message that we don't care about what other people hold sacred. Back in the days of the "Piss Christ" controversy, I wouldn't have supported an "Everybody Dunk a Crucifix in a Jar of Urine Day" to protest censorship.

What a stupid example. For starters, "Piss Christ" wasn't censored. It was produced using taxpayers money in the first place. Also, no one was murdered over their promotion of it. "Piss Christ" was shown on every news network, was depicted in every newspaper, hell, I bet it even made its way into school textbooks. Funny how that was deemed acceptable while depiction of the "prophet" is deemed beyond the pale. Althouse would have you believe that difference has nothing to do with the violence that always seems to attend the Muslim response to people they do not like. That is simple nonsense, and Althouse knows it:

At the same time, real artists like the "South Park" guys or (maybe) Andre Serrano should go on with their work, using shock to the extent that they see fit.


WHAT SHOCK?!?!?!?!? The "prophet" was not even shown because the network censored their work! It says something that the mere possibility of something is now taken as proof of its existence. (It's just like Obama's supposed "moderateness"!)

I'm sorry, but respect is a two-way street. If Muslims would like to have their beliefs respected THEY can start by respecting Freedom of Expression, including the freedom of those you do not like. However, Islam has a big problem with anything and anyone considered "the other." For too many Muslims, anyone outside of the ummah deserves and gets no respect. And that is ultimately the point here. This isn't about artistic expression or the feelings of innocent people who probably wish the whole controversy would just go away. It is about the sphere of freedom for all citizens in a free society. The threat to that sphere does not just come from those who threaten violence, but it also comes from those who would throw away freedom in the name of "civility."

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Lack Of Evidence

David Brooks has an uncharacteristically interesting opinion piece up today concerning the current state of politics. Brooks contends we have fallen back into an old trope; the old battle royale between big government and small government. And, I must say, I agree with Brooks when he says this is rather boring. Been there. Done that.

However, Brooks falls into his standard nonsense when it comes to Obama:

The center has been losing political power pretty much my entire career. But I confess that about 16 months ago I had some hope of a revival. The culture war, which had bitterly divided the country for decades, was winding down. The war war — the fight over Iraq and national security — was also waning.

The country had just elected a man who vowed to move past the old polarities, who valued discussion and who clearly had some sympathy with both the Burkean and Hamiltonian impulses. He staffed his administration with brilliant pragmatists whose views overlapped with mine, who differed only in that they have more faith in technocratic planning.

Would someone please point me to the evidence for the existence of this mythical moderate Obama? Brooks seems to be convinced by the fact Obama can correctly identify who Reinhold Niebuhr is, but a real pragmatist would only be satisfied by actions in the real world. As Brooks, and other "moderate" Obama apologists can never provide such evidence I will continue to treat such claims as the equivalent of Loch Ness monster sightings.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Consistently Stupid

QandO has it right:

After the fit the Obama administration threw about Honduras enforcing its Constitution by deposing their president who had violated it, I’m sure we’re being consistent with Kyrgyzstan. After all, we insisted (and still insist) that the former president of Honduras – the the “duly elected president” - must be returned to power before relations with Honduras will normalize. I assume the Obama administration is insisting the same thing happen in Kyrgyzstan, right?

The interim Kyrgyz government that took power in a violent revolt last week has been officially recognized by the United States, the US ambassador to the country announced Sunday.


Oh.

Nevermind.

So the Obama administration has succeeded in being immoral and inconsistent.

They must be proud. (The sad part is they probably really are proud of themselves.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Problem With The Press

Another component of the press' vendetta against the Catholic Church has begun to unravel: The Frustratingly Poor Quality of Press Coverage

The whole world now knows about Father Stephen Kiesle of Oakland, the priest who tied up young boys and molested them sexually and whose request to be defrocked came before then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The press is swarming with assertions that, as the Washington Post headlined its story, "Future pope balked at defrocking priest." This, we are led to believe, is the smoking gun. Raztinger signed the letter in 1985. That is HIS signature. Case closed....

In talking to reporters, I raised the question: Why was this case in front of Ratzinger in the first place. It does not make sense. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was given jurisdiction over cases of the "graviora delicta" of sexual abuse only in 2001. Before that time, it is a bit unclear who had immediate jurisdiction in Rome, although one point – which I also made to reporters – went unmentioned then and in all the reporting about the future Pope’s role in handling sex abuse cases, namely, the local bishop has the authority to remove a priest from the clerical state. Recourse to Rome is necessary only to dispense a priest from his vow of celibacy, so that he can subsequently be married in the Church.

Perhaps, some of the confusion has to do with the translation from Latin that the original AP story procured from the chairman of the Classics Department at USC which translates "Hoc dicasterium" as "this court." I do not question the Chairman of the Classics Department’s command of Latin, but a dicastery in the Vatican is not a court, but an agency or department. The CDF did not then and does not now serve as a canonical court.

But, then it hit me: I was asking about the dog that had not barked. The documents exchanged between the diocesan officials in Oakland and the CDF do not mention "graviora delicta." The case was presented as a priest seeking laicization....


In the "Votum Episcopi," the document by which the bishop demonstrates his support for Father Kiesle’s request for laicization, Bishop John Cummins notes that Kiesle had been arrested for molesting six boys, had pleaded "nolo contendere" and received a three-year suspended sentence. Three facts jump out. First, the request for defrocking was made by Father Kiesle, not by the bishop. Second, the priest had already been removed from active ministry, so the case did not seem urgent insofar as protecting children in the future was concerned (remember, Kiesle was only asking CDF to dispense him from his vows). Third, the response from and punishment by the civil authorities were not as severe as the crime warranted. As we now know, very few people understood the nature of pedophilia, otherwise civil authorities would not have imposed a three- or five-year statute of limitations, and the penalties for what amounted to rape would have been more severe. It turns out that the emotional scars of sex abuse are worse than physical scars of physical abuse, not least because they are often unseen.

One other part of Cummins’s letter to Cardinal Ratzinger seems to have escaped the attention of the assembled press corps. The bishop notes that the trial generated "a great deal of publicity surrounding his conduct." The bishop says that all the local papers covered the story. So, the idea that Cardinal Raztinger subsequently dragged his feet to avoid publicity is an odd charge, one that the documents do not support. When Cardinal Ratzinger replied that the "good of the universal Church" should be considered in adjudicating the case, he was evidently not trying to prevent adverse publicity. That publicity had already occurred....


Another factor explaining Ratzinger’s invocation of the "good of the universal Church" was a change of policy going on at the Vatican in the early 1980s. In the years after the Council, many priests asked to be laicized. George Weigel, in his biography of Pope John Paul II, writes: "Pope Paul VI had granted more than 32,000 requests from priests who had asked to be released from their vows and returned to lay status – the greatest exodus from the priesthood since the Reformation. Soon after his election, John Paul had stopped the routine granting of these ‘decrees of laicization.’" John Paul was especially concerned about younger priests seeking to be defrocked, and very few such requests were granted to priests under the age of 40. It is telling that Father Kiesle’s request for laicization was granted as soon as he did turn 40.

What had Pope John Paul, and Cardinal Ratzinger, worried was that the sacramental character of priestly ordination was being obscured by the ease with which priests were being dispensed from their vows. Catholics do not see the priesthood as a career choice, to be set aside if something better comes along. When a man is ordained, the Church believes that God affects an ineffaceable and permanent change upon the ordinand, just as the Church believes that bread and wine are truly changed into the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass. Even a priest who is laicized retains the power to say Mass and absolve from sins in confession, even though the Church strips him of the authority to do so.

This is the background that the American and British press, blinded by their bigotry, has made obscure through their shoddy reporting. Actually, I would disagree with the tone of this piece in that it seems to ascribe to the press a veneer of incompetence when I believe all evidence points to a deliberate attempt on the part of the press to smear the Pope. Granted, the press routinely gets basics of the Catholic faith wrong through sheer ignorace, but in this case, where an effort should have been expended to make sure the reporters knew what the documents they had were actually discussing, and such an effort was not undertaken; it becomes difficult to call it anything other than evidence of ill will.

This, in a nut shell, is the problem with the press today. Those citizens who didn't read the paper, and were thus ignorant on the matters discussed, would have been aware of their ignorance and therefore acted in a manner consistent with that status. People who read and believe what they read in the press, on the other hand, will think they are informed when they are in reality still ignorant. Worse than that, they will have been deliberately provided faslehoods meant to attack those the press has identified as their enemies.

Journalism today is no longer journalism. It is war carried on by other means.

Friday, April 09, 2010

More Anti-Catholic Bigotry From the BBC...

...with an assist by the Associated Press:

Pope Benedict XVI has become embroiled in new revelations over child sexual abuse, over a letter he is said to have signed in 1985 before becoming pontiff.

Associated Press said it had obtained the letter, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, resisting the defrocking of offending US priest Stephen Kiesle.

Cardinal Ratzinger said the "good of the universal Church" needed to be considered in defrocking, AP reported.

This is supposed to be a smoking gun? What horseshit. Of course any laicization must be done with the "good of the Universal Church" in mind. By definition laicization affects the standing of any individual in regards to the Church as a whole. If the problem at hand didn't affect the Universal Church then you wouldn't be talking about defrocking in the first place. (Really, how stupid are reporters these days? I know schools of journalism are not held in the highest intellectual regard, but this is ridiculous.)

Not content with displaying their shaky understanding of common Enlgish words, the BBC then proceeds to outright lie:

[The AP] said the Oakland diocese had recommended Kiesle's removal in 1981 but that that did not happen until 1987.

Cardinal Ratzinger took over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases, in 1981.

This gives the impression that then Cardinal Ratzinger was given this case in 1981 and did nothing until 1987. The only trouble is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was not the venue where sex abuse cases were handled in the 1980's. This has been pointed out repeatedly in recent weeks:

...the competency to hear cases of sexual abuse of minors shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001. Until that time, most appeal cases went to the Rota and it was our experience that cases could languish for years in this court. When the competency was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in my observation as well as many of my canonical colleagues, sexual abuse cases were handled expeditiously, fairly, and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved. I have no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger.

That this now well known piece of information was deliberately skirted by the BBC (if not the AP) has to be an example of prejudice. It is conceivable, I suppose, that it could have been the result of ignorance, but it would have been ignorance of such a gross and negligent variety, a reckless disregard for the truth bordering on insanity, that the maxim of Ockham's Razor rejects it. Good old fashioned bigotry is much more plausible.

All I can say about the BBC is that they are no good, bigoted, lying sons of bitches.

Speaking Of Vintage Cocktails....


Over the last couple of years I have become something of a devotee of the Monkey Gland Cocktail. Oh, yes, that is indeed the stuff. I have been recommending it enthusiastically, and have been successful in making converts, with the exception of the crowd that dislikes anything that even vaguely tastes of licorice. (Why anyone wouldn't love licorice is beyond me, but...)

The Recipe:

1 and 1/2 oz. Gin (Preferably good quality. Bombay Sapphire and Boodles work well, though I prefer Tanqueray.)

1 and 1/2 oz. orange juice

1 teaspoon grenadine

1 and 1/2 teaspoon pastis or absinthe (I use Pernod, though it is equally good with Ricard or Herbsaint. Absinthe is generally too expensive to be used in such a manner.)

Combine in a shaker half filled with ice. Shake the hell out of it and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

Enjoy!

P.S. Can you tell I've got Friday on my mind?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Sanity

As in I'd like some, please.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I Hate To Break It To You, But Lawmakers Are Citizens Too

This is amusing: Activist targeted by state legislators

Animal activist Brenda Shoss and the Missouri lawmakers who loathe her agree on this: Having your inbox fill up with hundreds of unwanted e-mails is infuriating.

That's what happened to Missouri House members a week ago, when Shoss and members of her advocacy group, Kinship Circle, unleashed a deluge urging legislators to vote against a bill that would open the door for a horse slaughterhouse to come to the Show-Me State.

Lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans — objected to the tactic. They said they had never before received hundreds of e-mails from all over the nation, and even the world, on a bill.

So they struck back.

Shoss received calls at her home from offices in the Capitol, taunting her and making "neighing" voices into the phone. One caller sang a version of the theme song from "Mr. Ed." A number of the calls came late at night.

Some legislators programmed their e-mail systems to forward any message containing the word "horse" to Shoss. And some told the activist that they would consider passing the bill out of spite.

You know what, this may be unusual but I'm all for it. After all, Shoss is not merely a private citizen; she is a private citizen acting on behalf of a special interest. In a pluralistic society there is nothing wrong with interest groups getting, shall we say, feedback from legislators. This should be a lesson that the process isn't always a one-way street. In reality, legislators were doing Ms. Shoss a favor by making it clear that she, and by extension her group, was pissing them off. Generally speaking that isn't the best approach to take when you want to persuade someone to the righteousness of your cause.

Shoss' incomprehension is classic:

The response of elected officials has left the experienced activist dumbfounded. Even when her organization got involved in the high-profile animal abuse case of NFL quarterback Michael Vick, she had never seen such a vitriolic reaction.

The late-night, anonymous phone calls led Shoss to file a harassment complaint last week with the University City Police Department.

Thats right... Spam someone with hundreds of emails from all over the world, making it impossible for them to actually communicate with real constituents, then when they complain about the spamming sic the cops on 'em. Dale Carnegie has got nothing on this woman!

The House passed Viebrock's bill in a voice vote Monday. It needs one more House vote to go to the Senate.

Shoss said she was shocked by the suggestion that some lawmakers might vote for a bill simply because they didn't like the way her group opposed it.

"They're going to pass a bill to get back at me?" she said. "That's just scary."

Why is it scary? It's called politics. If a rep doesn't feel like the bill would affect her district in any tangible way (and why should they when they are getting spam email from Spain and Australia, and not real ones from Rolla and Florissant?), well, then the vote on that bill becomes open for a little logrolling. And, if one side has gone out of their way to make themselves completely disagreeable, well, you would take a lot less in return for the vote.

Spite is a whole lot less, true, but weirder things have happened.

I will note this seems to be the one area in the Missouri legislature these days where we can find bipartisan support for something.